Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

The ‘greatest health resort in the world’

Photo courtesy John M. Motter Buck O’Neal and early day merchant Mr. Bostwick show off a large trout caught in the San Juan River. Oldtimers told many stories about Buck and most of the stories involved fish. It has also been said that Buck furnished wild game, i.e., turkey buzzards, for the palates of state officials meeting on Wolf Creek Pass to celebrate its opening. 

Photo courtesy John M. Motter
Buck O’Neal and early day merchant Mr. Bostwick show off a large trout caught in the San Juan River. Oldtimers told many stories about Buck and most of the stories involved fish. It has also been said that Buck furnished wild game, i.e., turkey buzzards, for the palates of state officials meeting on Wolf Creek Pass to celebrate its opening.

I’ve been writing for several weeks about the early days of the Great Pagosa Hot Springs.

Last week, I quoted from an article in an 1883 Summitville newspaper that a man named J.L. Campbell took over management of the hot springs and bathhouse with plans for substantial improvements.

I neglected to explain that a biography of former U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell was published a few years ago. Ben believes that the direct line of his ancestors came through Pagosa Springs during that pioneer period. I have not read his biography, but intend to do so soon.

Returning to our history of the hot springs, we might examine the question: “How many health and wonder seekers visited the Great Hot Springs prior to 1890?”

Since no visitation records are available for those years, it is impossible to make an accurate guess. Our best source of information is newspapers from the surrounding area. Remember, Pagosa Springs had no newspaper prior to April 10, 1891.

We do find mention of the hot springs in that first (permanent) newspaper, The Pagosa Springs News, published by D.L. Egger.

Read these news items from the front page of that first paper:

• “Dr. W.M. Parrish arrived in this city last Sunday from Maitland, Mo. The doctor spent several months at the Springs last summer and his health improved so much that he decided to make this his future home. The doctor and his interesting family will be a valuable acquisition to the social circle of Pagosa Springs. Dr. Parrish has great faith in the future of Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County. Pagosa Springs, he says, is gaining quite a reputation among Kansas and Missouri capitalists.”

• “Last summer, three invalid soldiers from the Home at Leavenworth, Kan., were sent to Pagosa for treatment, as an experiment. The result in all three cases was so gratifying that the authorities of the Home have decided to send from fifteen to twenty this season, and they will arrive the latter part of this month or the beginning of the next. Pagosa Springs will some day be the greatest health resort in the world. Mark my prediction.”

• Alamosa Independent Journal — “Wm. Hill returned from Pagosa Springs Saturday. He went there several weeks ago on account of rheumatism and states that he is greatly improved.”

More next week on the Great Pagosa Hot Spring during pioneer times in this community.

This story was posted on October 31, 2013.