The Pagosa Springs economy seemed to flourish during 1891.
We read this item in the Pagosa Springs News during October: “The following persons threshed their grain during the past ten days: Sherman Morehouse — 700 bushels, W.W. Nossaman — 500 bushels, E.T. Walker — 1,800 bushels, F.W. Dains — 500 bushels, Chas. Hallett — 500 bushels.”
Before cars and trucks arrived, growing grain was a big deal.
Aside from trains, the transportation of supplies was accomplished with wagons pulled by horses, mules or oxen. All work that required more muscle than a man could furnish was done by the same quadrupeds, and they all worked best if stoked with ample allotments of grain. Even in the short growing season of Pagosa Country grain did well.
The arrival of an important business family was heralded by this November 1891 news item: “J.V. Blake and wife, of Elk Falls, Kansas, arrived at this place Saturday evening, and they will make this their future home. Mr. Blake is a man of means and will engage in business with C.H. Freeman.”
The Blakes did engage in various businesses in Pagosa Springs for several years; then their names no longer appear in the newspapers. We know where they came from, but we don’t know where they went. I’ve never heard their names mentioned by oldtimers.
In December of 1891, businesses continued to move from the east side of the San Juan River to the west side of the river where Fort Lewis had formerly been. The location of those on the west side is noted. If the business location is not identified as the west side, it is probably on the east side of the river.
The following businesses advertised in The News during December: J.V. Johnson, dealer in general merchandise; Strawn’s Hotel, west side near the school house; Latham House, this popular hotel is located on Pagosa Street and is first class in every respect (Motter’s note — Fort Lewis enlisted men’s barracks were adapted to create this hotel, which had to be located near the center of the block); Hallet and Palmer, feed, livery, and sale stable, west side; Pagosa Springs Bath House, M.A. Patrick, manager, baths 30 and 35 cents; San Juan Hotel, Mrs. M.M. Cade, proprietor, the oldest house in town, east side near the post office; Montroy and Nossaman, lumber, mill located three miles southeast of Pagosa Springs (Motter’s note — probably on the ranch with the blue buildings, which I think was owned by Montroy at that time); Brick and Lime, A.A.Putnam; E.M. Tayor, real estate and loans; The Pagosa Springs Mail & Stage Lines, Pagosa Springs and Amargo; Bath House Barber Shop, A.J. Lewis, proprietor; H.F. Wentz, builder and contractor; Dr. W. M. Parrish, Physician and Surgeon.