MEARS, OTTO (1841–1931), U.S. railroad builder. Mears was born in Russian Lithuania and was brought to California in 1854. He served in the Civil War. In 1865 he settled in Saguache County, Colorado, as a merchant, later becoming county treasurer and Indian commissioner. He was a road and railroad builder, constructing most of the principal roads in southwest Colorado, building a railroad in Ouray County in 1888, and participating in building and later serving as president of the Denver and Rio Grande Southern Railway. Mears was a presidential elector (1876), lieutenant governor (1883), and state capitol commissioner (1889). A monument honoring him is near Ouray.
dab, incl. bibl.; J.H. Baker and L.R. Hafen (eds.), History of Colorado, 5 (1927), 412–3; L.R. Hafen, in: Colorado Magazine, 9 (1932), 71–74; S. Jocknick, Early Days on the Western Slope of Colorado and Campfire Chats with Otto Mears (1913); F. Hall, History of the State of Colorado, 4 (1895), 510; B.B. Postal, Jewish Tourist's Guide to the U.S. (1954), 77–78; W.F. Stone, History of Colorado, 4 (1919), 640–1.
[Robert E. Levinson]