Pagosa in the late 1890s: the first church, a border city and more

Photo courtesy John M. Motter A considerable amount of hay and various grains such as oats, wheat and barley were grown during the early days of Pagosa Country settlement. As can be seen from this photo, harvesting was performed by draft animals. Because of their considerable appetites, these beasts of burden also consumed a considerable portion of the crops they enabled.

Photo courtesy John M. Motter
A considerable amount of hay and various grains such as oats, wheat and barley were grown during the early days of Pagosa Country settlement. As can be seen from this photo, harvesting was performed by draft animals. Because of their considerable appetites, these beasts of burden also consumed a considerable portion of the crops they enabled.

An article in “Field and Farm” listed the following agricultural production for Archuleta County during 1897: 36,000 bushels of grain, 18,000 tons of hay and 6,000 head of beef cattle. Over 10,000 acres were devoted to farming and 100,000 acres to grazing.

Dedication of the Methodist Episcopal Church took place on Jan. 23, 1898. The first church building in Pagosa Springs and commonly known as the ME church, the building was located on Lewis Street in the same place as today’s Methodist Church. Dr. R.A. Carnine, presiding elder of the Rio Grande District, conducted the dedication ceremony.

He said, “For years, men devoted men 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 had received of the Lord Jesus Christ to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”

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

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This story was posted on October 29, 2015.