A friend of Otto Mears described him this way: "Mr. Mears is a man who always said 'I can;' and he did." His accomplishments are mind boggling. Mears' trading business led directly to his building toll roads. His newspapers touted Saguache, Ouray, and other new towns to bring more business across his toll roads for his hardware stores. His political contacts enhanced his friendship and ability to work with the Utes, but at the same time he was a supporter of the forces that pushed the Utes out of Colorado. His railroads helped move his goods to distribution points, haul out ore from the mines and deliver it to his own and others' mills. He used dirty politics to fight hard and sometimes viciously to prevent unionization of his railroad workers, but he was one of the first businessmen in the West to institute profit sharing with his employees in the mines. A visionary, yes, enigmatic, no doubt, but also a man of his times. Otto Mears was an adventurous, poor, uneducated and underprivileged immigrant from Russia who dreamed big dreams and made many of them come true.
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