Bookmark and Share

The county builds its first roads

In one of the beginning steps of creating the Archuleta County road system we still have today, D.W. Scott, on July 6, 1885, asked Archuleta County for a mileage reimbursement for building a county road.

The road was to commence at the junction of the Amargo/Pagosa Road and the Old Archuleta Toll Road and running eastward through Keyott (Coyote) Park, there leaving the junction of the Old Military Road, then southeastward to the crossing of the Little Navajo Bridge and running southward, then recrossing and following down the Big Navajo one and one-half miles from the Pagosa/Amargo Road, then crossing and following down the Navajo on the southeast and forming a junction with the Amargo/Pagosa Road about four miles from Amargo.

The road description just quoted was found in the county courthouse in the first journal kept on county roads. Unfortunately, no map accompanied the difficult to interpret description. Interpreting the description requires knowing the location of the following roads adopted into the county road system at that early date.

The first roads adopted into the county road system were: the old military road running up Spring Valley to Tierra Amarilla (this is apparently the road still in use connecting Chromo with the New Mexico/Colorado state line and from Chromo northward to Pagosa Springs, approximating U.S. 84 today); The Alamosa/Pagosa Toll Road (apparently the old military road running across Elwood Pass and down the San Juan River to Pagosa Springs, approximating but certainly not exactly following the route of U.S. 160 today); the Durango Road (approximating U.S. 160 today); and the Pagosa Springs/Amargo Road (approximating the road southward through Coyote Park to Edith and southward into New Mexico at Amargo).

Again, the above descriptions were contained in the official county road ledger described with words but not with maps.

The county ordered bridges built over the main streams. The county did not have a road department responsible for construction and maintenance of roads. Instead, road overseers were appointed in various parts of the county. D.W. Scott was road overseer in the southwestern part of the county and Mason Farrow road overseer in the western part. Roads were supported by a road tax. A man could contribute labor in road maintenance in lieu of paying the road tax.

In which building in Pagosa Springs the county commissioners met during that first year of governor-appointed county officials we do not know. A year later, in July of 1886 following the first election of county officials, they rented a meeting place from Devereux, and in July 20, 1886, they paid C.D. Scase $310 for a building to be moved to Lot 31, Block 6, on San Juan Street below Reservoir Hill. The building purchased from Scase was soon burned during an insurrection against the county commissioners. It was replaced by a rock building, a portion of which still stands on that same lot.

blog comments powered by Disqus