1880 begins in Pagosa, hot springs not a mineral

Photo courtesy John M. Motter A town meeting appears to be taking place at the Pagosa Hot Spring in this photograph taken circa 1900. The camera was pointed north.

Photo courtesy John M. Motter
A town meeting appears to be taking place at the Pagosa Hot Spring in this photograph taken circa 1900. The camera was pointed north.

We’ve been writing about the first winter for Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs in 1879. In those days, Fort Lewis was a log fort located on the main business block in Pagosa Springs. By 1882, Fort Lewis was moved westward to Hesperus on the La Plata River.

Without the fort or a railroad, the economic future of Pagosa Springs looked bleak. The town had no newspaper and, so, surviving information about the town is scarce. Most of what we have is supplied from the newspapers in surrounding towns. We read the following from the La Plata Miner in a Jan. 31, 1880, letter written by an unidentified Pagosa settler. It gives us an idea of the economic impact of having a fort in the town.

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This story was posted on January 22, 2015.