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Citizen’s Bank — one of Pagosa’s oldest businesses

Photo courtesy John Motter
A dramatic fire in 1940 destroyed much of The Citizen’s Bank of Pagosa Springs building, across the street from the county courthouse. First-story spaces survived the blaze and remain in use today.

In May of 1908, the Pagosa Springs town board discussed what actions should be taken as a result of the loss of money deposited at First Bank of Pagosa Springs.

The bank had failed, not because of local mismanagement, but because the parent bank in Denver failed.

Already in 1908, The Pagosa Springs New Era had announced, “Fred Catchpole, formerly cashier of the First State Bank of Sterling, Nebraska, one of the soundest banks of that state, was here visiting his friends Dr. and Mrs. DeMotte, and investigating the conditions with a view to starting a bank at Pagosa if the place suits him and our people thin he suits the place. Mr. Catchpole made the New Era a pleasant visit and assured us that he was not here to ‘butt in’ on any efforts of the people to start a bank, but that now since the agreement had done away with any probability of another bank being started here on the assets of the first bank, he felt a liberty to start a bank with the co-operation of home people if he and they felt so generally inclined. Mr. Catchpole seems to be a man worth much to any community and the New Era hopes he will be encouraged to become one of us.”

Catchpole’s new bank, called The Citizen’s Bank of Pagosa Springs, commenced business March 1, 1908. It is still in business and is one of the oldest businesses in this community.

A.J. Nossaman was the first president, Fred Catchpole the first cashier and J.S. Hatcher the first vice-president. Citizen’s Bank opened in the same false-front frame building on San Juan Street that had housed the First Bank of Pagosa Springs. Fred Catchpole and his wife lived in the back of the building.

A brick building was begun almost immediately across the street on the corner of San Juan and Pagosa streets.

Once completed in 1909, the new building became a landmark in which the bank conducted business until the 1970s. The list of the bank’s stockholders down through the years reads like a Who’s Who of important Pagosa residents.

The original building was a two-story affair with apartments upstairs. A fire in 1940 destroyed the upper floor, but the lower floor was saved.

This story was posted on January 10, 2013.