The family of former Union Pacific Railroad mechanical engineer James Michael Curran, including his daughter, grandchildren and great grandchildren, gathered at Ruud Mountain last week to appreciate their progenitor’s work: one of the world’s first three chairlifts, all of which were installed at Sun Valley in 1936 and 1937. Curran pioneered the mechanism—and, in the process, revolutionized the ski industry. He died in 1968. But, until now, his family—including his daughter, Marilyn Curran Ryan (third from left)—hadn’t seen his work at its source, according to their guide, Steve Walker of Sun Valley Tours. “It was great hearing the family getting stories from Marilyn that the younger generation had never known until this visit to Sun Valley,” Walker told the Idaho Mountain Express. “It was wonderful to meet a family with such a great connection with our history.”

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