Modernization in Pagosa Springs meant adding street lamps.
The first street lamps were arc lamps, a method involving ionization of a gaseous vapor inside the lamp envelopes, as opposed to heating a filament.
In 1903, an addition was added to the north end of Town Hall for the purpose of housing a hose cart with a bell tower. Town Hall was located at the intersection of Pagosa and San Juan streets just south of the bridge stretching San Juan Street across the river.
The hose cart was used to fight fires. Hydrants were installed at the corner of First and Pagosa streets and the corner of Pagosa and San Juan streets and later on other street corners. The fire hose cart was a wagon-like affair with large wheels. It could be pulled by horses or men. When a fire broke out, the fire hose cart was wheeled to the nearest hydrant, the hose connected, then extended to douse the fire. One of these hose carts is on exhibit at the historical society museum.
Fires had done a terrible amount of damage in Pagosa Springs from the time the town first started to form in 1877 right up to 1903. More fires came after 1903. Fires are largely responsible for the fact that few buildings constructed before 1900 remain.
Responsible for the spate of town activity in 1902 was the town board with barber A.J. Lewis as mayor, and men with the last names of Love, Ross, Freeman, Lacy, Sparks, and Dowell as trustees.
On June 23, 1902, the board decided to move the bandstand, or gazebo, from in front of Town Hall to the park. The town first built the gazebo in 1899. Later, the board moved the gazebo to Triangle Park on the corner of San Juan and Lewis streets. The gazebo had been constructed to accommodate the Columbine Band, a group of local musicians supported by donations from local merchants and the town board. The Columbine Band played for special occasions and marched in Fourth of July parades.
Hilltop Cemetery was in use as early as 1901 on land deeded to the town by Kate Slick. The town discovered the land did not belong to Slick; it was homesteaded land she had failed to prove up on. Finally, in March of 1905, the board paid the amount of money necessary to patent the Hilltop Cemetery grounds.
The Pagosa Springs Electric Light and Power Company formed in April of 1903. Electricity was generated by a water wheel housed in the buildings still standing on Light Plant Road a couple of miles south of town near were Mill Creek joins the San Juan River. Water to turn the wheel was provided from the San Juan River by means of a ditch.
From 1903 through 1911 most town board business was of a routine nature, dealing with maintenance of town utilities and the issuance of building permits. Some of the interesting building permits included: June 6, 1903, F.H. Buckles was allowed to erect a frame building next to the Buckles and Schultz Hall; also on June 6 Hatcher was allowed to add a 24 foot by 50 foot iron building to the rear of what had been the Phillips Building and was not yet the Hersch Building; in September of 1905 Buckles was allowed to construct a concrete bathhouse with dimensions of 50 feet by 150 feet at the Buckles and Schultz Hall. In October of 1905, A.T. Sullenburger of the Rio Grande Pagosa and Northern Railroad was granted a right-of-way through certain town streets for use of his logging railroad to be constructed by the Pagosa Lumber Company.