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First bath house opens, business begins

George Blair opened the first public bath house near the Great Pagosa Hot Springs in May of 1881.

It contained, “one large plunge fully four and one-half feet deep, and several single bath tubs, fully sufficient to accommodate all visitors. This fine bath house is run in connection with the Hamilton House, the gentlemanly proprietors of which will do all in their power for the accommodation of the traveling public.”

On June 10, 1881, George D. Nickel surveyed the townsite of Pagosa Springs and 80 acres containing the hot springs, an action necessary before the springs property could be awarded to the Valentine scrip cliamants.

A Durango Record reporter wrote in July, “I have already taken one plunge bath — not in boiling water but in water cooled to 85 degrees — a regular dive and swim, which reminded me of the sports of boyhood.” He said the people of Pagosa Springs were involved mainly in mining, stock raising, and to a limited extent, agriculture, together with furnishing supplies for miners and herdsmen.

The Colorado Business Directory listed the following businesses in Pagosa Springs for the early 1880s.

1880—R.D. Smith, General Merchandise; Newman, Chestnut & Co., drugs, books, etc.; E.R. Cooper, groceries and provisions; Field and Hill, general merchandise; W.D. Peabody, post sutler and general merchandise; J.H. Voorhees, second hand store; Tom Blair, Sam Frazier, saloon; Joseph M. Clark (Motter—should be Clarke), general store; C.F. Stollsteimer, meat market; M.L. Dunn, proprietor of the Hamilton House.

1881—No listings.

1882—Pagosa Springs; daily mails; population 225; Beldon & Hewitt, general merchandise; Thomas Blair, general merchandise and saloon; H.R. Bowling, general merchandise; J.R. Crump, blacksmith; P. Devereux, saloon; J. Gililland, blacksmith; N. Hoover, drugs; T. Kemp, postmaster; E.C. Laithe, general merchandise; Opdyke Hotel; Michal Slevin, saloon; C. Stollsteimer, meat market; J.H. Voorhees, general merchandise.

1883—Pagosa Springs; daily mails; population 225; Belden & Hewitt, stoves and tinware; Blair and Heffron, saloon; S.E. Bowling, general merchandise; J. (Isaac) Cade, proprietor San Juan Hotel; Crump and Berard, blacksmiths; Wm Campbell, proprietor Campbell House; P. Devereux, saloon; A. J. Gililland, groceries; N. G. Hover, physician, postmaster, also dealer in drugs and books; C.W. Opdyke, proprietor Opdyke Hotel; Chas. D. Scase, mail contractor (west of Pagosa Springs; M. Slevin, saloon; J.H. Voorhees, general merchandise; E.T. Walker, mail contractor (Pagosa Springs to Amargo); C.L. Woods, proprietor, Pagosa Hotel.

1884—Pagosa Springs; population 225; daily mails; J.L. Anerson, proprietor of bath house; S.E. Bowling, general merchandise; J. Cade, proprietor, San Juan Hotel; Crump and Berard, blacksmiths; William Campbell, proprietor, Campbell House; A.J. Gililland, groceries; N.G. Hover, physician, drugs, and books; Koeslte & Barney, Pagosa Hotel; J.S. Martin, physician; C.W. Opdyke, proprietor Opdyke Hotel; Chas. D. Scase, mail contractor; J.H. Voorhees, general merchandise; E.T. Walker, mail contractor. Another business directory for the same year lists: a steam sawmill; daily stage to Amargo, fare four dollars; E. Halstead,carpenter; A.J. Lewis, butcher; Walker & Loucks, sawmill.

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