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Pagosa Springs History Days events scheduled in May

Pagosa Springs History Days are upon us.

The community celebrates our history each May. This year, the Historic Preservation Board (HPB) for the Town of Pagosa Springs has worked to coordinate events for all to enjoy and learn more about the history of our town.

Scavenging Pagosa’s past

To start off the month, students in Grades K-12 are invited to visit participating businesses to search out the answers to questions about our town. Download and print your answer sheet from or Fill in the blank with the correct answer and return your completed form by Thursday, May 12, to the front desk at Pagosa Springs Town Hall. All correctly completed forms will be entered for a drawing by grade level. The winner in each grade level will win a deck of historic Pagosa Springs playing cards.

Scavenging Pagosa’s Past Answer Sheet

Fred Harman Museum

Pagosa’s own Fred Harman Museum opens for the season on May 3. On Saturday, May 8, the museum will host a no admission day, however donations will be gladly accepted. The museum is also the former home of the famed artist and cartoonist, who used his early experiences as a cowboy growing up on his father’s homestead to create his original art.

On the museum site are several buildings significant to area history that have been preserved at this location. One of these, the Gomez Store, will be open on May 8 for touring. This is a treat as this uniquely preserved store is only open for special occasions.

Red Ryder flick

Local artist Fred Harman was the creator of the Red Ryder comic strip, which ran from 1938 to 1964 in major newspapers across the U.S. (and seen now exclusively in this publication.) The characters were adapted to the big screen and this is your chance to see a great old-time western flick. You can take advantage of this unique opportunity to see a Red Ryder movie matinee at the Liberty Theatre on Saturday, May 8, at 1 p.m. Admission is $3 and includes a small soda and popcorn. Fred Harman III will introduce the movie.

‘The Cowboys’

John Wayne played the lead role in this 1972 western movie that was filmed right here in Archuleta County. You can enjoy a matinee of “The Cowboys” on the screen at the Liberty Theatre at 1 p.m. on May 15. Admission is $3, which includes a small soda and popcorn.

Wayne plays rancher Wil Andersen trying to get his herd to market on time. Abandoned by his ranch hands that were seeking their fortune in the gold fields, Andersen turns to a group of young boys to help in the drive. You’ll enjoy the storyline as well as local scenery.

San Juan Historical Society Museum

This museum has been operating in Pagosa Springs for over 30 years, sharing thousands of local artifacts and history with visitors. The museum opens for the season on May 15 at 9 a.m. There is no admission charged to tour the museum, but donations are greatly appreciated to offset the expenses of operation.

This summer two special exhibits are featured. The Boy Scouts of America is celebrating 100 years here in the United States. A display of scouting memorabilia from past years will be on display. You are invited to come in and learn more about the scouting movement in the U.S.

The museum is also hosting a quilt exhibit this summer — “Quilting: Past meets the present.” The display is organized under the expertise of local quilter, designer and collector Shirley Brinkmann. Quilts exploring both the past and present of quilting will be featured. Several pairs of quilts will be exhibited with the first being an antique quilt and the pair being a”“modern” remaking of that quilt, using today’s techniques and fabrics. The visitor will be able to appreciate both the antique quilt and the importance of the design of the antique quilt to today’s quilter. The exhibit will be completed with other antique quilts, dating from the mid-1800s.

Historic walking tour

It has become tradition for local geologist and history buff Glenn Raby to offer a historic walking tour in the downtown. This year you won’t be disappointed. Raby will lead his annual tour beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 15. Gather at the corner next to Goodman’s Department Store, corner of Pagosa and Fourth streets.

As you tour the downtown, be sure to keep an eye out for the annual history month poster. Each year students from Pagosa Springs Junior High participate in a contest with a historic theme under the direction of teacher Sally High. The winning drawing is turned into a poster, which is displayed during Historic Preservation Month in May.

Pagosa’s People & Scenes

Local photographer Jeff Laydon will host a special exhibit of photographs of Pagosa people and places at this downtown gallery from May 1-15. Be sure to stop in and see this special display, and students, you’ll find the answer to a scavenger hunt question here.

Book signing

Moonlight Books will host local authors signing their books on Saturday, May 8, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. You are invited to stop by their store on Pagosa Street to chat with local authors and have your books autographed.

Speaker series

The HPB is delighted to present local author and historian John M. Motter speaking in the senior dining room at the community center on Monday, May 3, at 6:30 p.m. The topic of the presentation is “Stories from Pagosa’s Past.”

Motter authored a book of local history, which is no longer in print. He currently writes a column for this paper that appears on a regular basis. Motter has studied local history for over 30 years. You won’t want to miss this opportunity.

Glenn Raby who is president of the Historic Preservation Board will give a talk on the history of Pagosa Springs on Tuesday, May 11, in the south conference room at the Ross Aragon Community Center. Raby’s talk, accompanied by photos, will begin at 6 p.m. All are invited.

The Chimney Rock Interpretive Association will meet Thursday, May 13, at 6 p.m. at the community center. This meeting is a potluck and all are welcome to attend. Bring a dish to share.

Glenn Raby will give a presentation on the history of Chimney Rock following the potluck. Raby has been involved with this unique archaeological area for many years and his talk promises to be very informative.

The historic preservation board hopes you will take advantage of these opportunities to learn about our past, and also enjoy the many other activities taking place in our community during the month of May.