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The last stage holdup in Pagosa

Pagosa Springs’ last stage holdup took place three miles south of town in September of 1892.

Before law enforcement finished its work connected with the holdup, the whole thing was almost an international incident.

During 1892, no railroad as yet reached the town of Pagosa Springs. Consequently, freight and travelers from the east often reached Pagosa Springs by getting off of a train from the east in a Front Range city, possibly, Pueblo, and transferring to the Denver & Rio Grande for the ride across the San Juan Mountains.

The route crossed the Front Range, passed through Alamosa, Antonito, across the San Juan Mountains via Cumbres Pass to Chama, from Chama through a number of small communities including Amargo, Dulce, Arboles and on to Durango.

Pagosa-bound passengers and freight got off of the Denver & Rio Grande at Amargo, formerly a small community in New Mexico just south of Pagosa Springs located between Chama and Dulce. From Amargo a stage and various wagons carried the cargo and passengers to Pagosa Springs.

The route to Pagosa Springs generally led from Amargo north to the Navajo River at what today is called Edith, then across Coyote Park to Halfway Canyon, through Halfway Canyon, across the Navajo River and a little east of Eight Mile Mesa to Squaw Valley, from Squaw Valley to Mill Creek near the present exit from U.S. 84 where what we used to call Mill Creek Road followed the creek down to the east bank of the San Juan River, and north along the river’s east side to the Hot Springs and Pagosa Springs.

The holdup took place near today’s Mill Creek Road/U.S. 84 intersection.

The occurrence took place on top of the first hill beyond Montroy’s ranch, where a man behind a tree gave orders. He made the parties get out of the wagon and turn their face away from him. Then he ripped the mailbag, and after taking out what he desired, he relieved Mr. Spickard of $38 cash. After commanding them to resume their seats in the wagon they were ordered to lose no time in hitting the road for Amargo, with which request they complied. They drove on about three miles when they turned around and came back to Pagosa and related their experience. Three men started in pursuit at once, but as of a newspaper report, had not returned yet.

More next week on Pagosa Springs’s last stage holdup.

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