Hot water, hot springs and high hopes

Photo courtesy John M. Motter
The Archuleta Mercantile Co. letterhead shown in this display belonged to the Archuleta family for whom this county is named. Notice the diversity of the businesses they operated in both Colorado and New Mexico.

An item in the Summitville Nugget in August of 1883 reported: “… The bath house has recently changed hands, Mr. J. L. Campbell assuming control. It is his intention to enlarge this building and erect another for the exclusive use of the ladies, under the management of Mrs. Campbell. At the time of the transfer the present owner, Mrs. C., threw open the baths gratis for one day. The morning was given to the men and the afternoon was reserved for the ladies. Those acquainted with the facts state that the morning natatorial festivities were conducted with a decorum unwonted, but that in the afternoon the daughters of Eve had it all their own way at the shrine of Neptune. The timorous pines trembled upon the mountain steeps, and the little blue eritrichium wandered among the lofty crags that re-echoed the peals of laughter from below, while the splashing and screaming of the fair Nereids was heard down Amargo way with such disastrous effect that the affrighted citizens fled in disorder, as before the path of some tidal wave of fearful cataclysm.”
Abandoning his enraptured personal poetic eruptions, the Summitville editor continued in plain English: “Excellent accommodations can be secured at the Pagosa House or the Campbell House, including baths (which, by the way, have been reduced in price) at reasonable figures. Amargo and communication with the outside world are gained by daily stage, a distance of twenty-nine miles across the Continental Divide.”
I could write another column explaining the information in this column. First of all, Summitville is an abandoned gold mining town located at the eastern end of Elwood Pass. It is also possible that the Campbell mentioned in this column was a direct ancestor of our retired Sen. Ben “Nighthorse” Campbell.

This story was posted on September 10, 2019.