Photo courtesy John M. Motter
Shown in this photo circa the late 1880s are the old Fort Lewis buildings on the left and the town of Pagosa Springs on the right, separated by a bridge that had been built by the soldiers. Because the troops at Fort Lewis had been moved to Hesperus, a few business buildings had been erected on the west side of the river. The building at the top on the left is the first county school, erected after Archuleta County was created in 1885.
Ownership claims on the Pagosa Hot Springs had been filed as early as 1875. Those claims included attempts to obtain title under homestead laws and also under various mining laws.