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News heralds largest building in town

Social news and new construction filled the columns of the Pagosa Springs News during the spring 1897.

Pagosa Springs could boast of an active Dramatic Club, a Ladies Aid Society, and in March plans were developed to construct a Methodist Episcopal Church. Talk of building the ME Church had been going on for several years, but in March firm plans were developed and construction soon followed.

The new church was built on the same locale as the current church and was dedicated Jan. 23, 1898, by the Rev. Dr. R.A. Carnine, president elder of the Rio Grande District.

During the dedication ceremony a recital of the history of the local congregation said: “For years men devoted to God’s work came here and endured hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, and counted not their lives dear unto themselves that they might finish their course with joy, and the ministry which they received of the Lord Jesus Christ to testify of the gospel of the grace of God.”

Among these may be named Rev. Henry Harpst, Rev. S.H. Kirkbride, Rev. E.V. DuBoise, and Rev. W.R. Weaver. The Rev. J. N. Tonlin had the pleasure of seeing the building erected.

The building was of frame construction, 50 feet long, 28 feet wide, and 20feet high. A 65-foot tower stood at one corner. It had 12 colored windows and cost $1,730.55. This sum was furnished by the following groups: Ladies Aid Society — $300; Church Extension Society — $250; and the balance by individual donations.

The church’s bell, weighing 500 pounds, arrived on April 6.

In February, The News editor announced: “Parr Bros. have purchased the necessary materials to construct a telephone line from Pagosa Springs to their ranch north of town. The line will be built as soon as the frost is out of the ground. It will not be many years until there will be a telephone line along every highway in the county.”

Just a year earlier in May, Welch Nossaman had raised over $300 in public donations, money he used to build a telephone line from Pagosa Springs to Edith. At Edith, Nossaman’s line connected with a line already in existence between the New Mexico Lumber Company mill and Edith. I believe Nossaman’s line was the first in Pagosa Springs.

An announcement in the April 29 News heralded the start of a building which still stands downtown on Pagosa Street and today is referred to as the Hersch Building. The announcement read; “Judge Price and Miss Alice Phillips will begin the construction of a large, two-story, fire-proofed business block on their lot east of P.M. Cockerell’s store in a few days. The building will be 50 x 75 feet, the largest block in town.”