Bookmark and Share

Local pioneers tell stories of early Pagosa history

A group of eight men and women gathered back in 1995 to exchange stories of their early lives in Pagosa as pioneers and homesteaders — and lucky for us, a video camera was there recording all their priceless memories.

The result is a two-hour documentary DVD called “An Afternoon with the Natives” that will be shown at the library next Thursday, May 31, from 4 – 7 p.m., along with a Q and A session, as the last event in the library’s highly popular free Lifelong Learning lecture series this spring.

Among the Pagosans featured in the DVD are the late Margaret Archuleta Dauggard, who shares many fun stories from her life as owner of La Cantina Saloon; Nina Gomez-Stolter, who displays a variety of valuable historic objects brought to America with the first permanent settlers of the U.S.A. a half century before the Pilgrims; the late Nancy Giordano, a popular teacher and owner of the first hot springs motel in town; Fred Harman, whose stories of his family settling here (and his museum) bring our local history to life; Lilliosa Padilla from Pagosa Junction, who tells of the importance of the railroad to Pagosa Country; and Dick Ray, outfitter and founder of our local Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park. Also joining in the story telling are Peggy Jacobson, Ann Oldham and Jean Taylor.

These long-timers take us back to the days when cattle, sheep, sawmills and the railroad dominated our economy, when children were taught in a one-room schoolhouse, and when wildlife was even more prevalent than it is today. They reminisce about four centuries of Anglo, Hispanic, Spanish and Native American history. And they tell stories of a rich community social life that included dances, cookouts, poker games, taffy pulls, church events, sing-alongs, baseball games and box socials.

If you cannot make it to this presentation at the library, hosted by Norm Vance, you can check out the DVD from the library and enjoy it in the comfort of your home. And this conversation may inspire you to sit down with the old-timers in your family to record their memories before it is too late.

Free technology programs

• The last Tech Tuesday this month is 3-5 p.m. May 29.

• Uploading and Organizing Digital Photos is today, May 24, from 10 a.m.-noon.

Free film

We’ll show one more film this month in our Classic Hollywood Film series at 1 p.m. Fridays. The silent movie “The General” with Buster Keaton will be tomorrow, May 25.


If you are not aware of how to access the free e-book opportunities available for our patrons through your library, please go to or you can pick up a paper copy at the library.

Mysteries and thrillers

“Sidney Sheldon’s Angel of the Dark” by Tilly Bagshawe explores the murders of newlywed millionaires and the assaults of their young wives. “The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection” by Alexander McCall Smith is the latest in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. “Dorchester Terrace” by Anne Perry is the latest in the series featuring Charlotte and Thomas Pitt in Britain. “Sacre Bleu” by Christopher Moore is a comedy d’art that explores the suicide of Vincent van Gogh. “The Book of Madness and Cures” by Regina O’Melveny follows a young woman searching for her father who mysteriously disappeared from Renaissance Venice. “The House of Velvet and Glass” by Katherine Howe is an historical mystery set in Boston in 1915. “The Inquisitor” by Mark Allen Smith is a thriller about a man who uses professional torture to ferret out lies and liars — but never with children. “The Unseen” by Heather Graham takes readers back to an 1800s murder in San Antonio that appears to be duplicated a year ago.

Other new novels

“Calico Joe” by John Grisham is a story of fathers and sons, forgiveness and redemption, set in the world of Major League baseball (this is a great book for baseball fans, but note that it is not a normal Grisham legal thriller). “The Cove” by Ron Rash follows a solitary woman and a mute flutist in their love affair that could be ruined by a deep secret. “The Song Remains the Same” by Allison Winn Scotch tells of a woman who survives a plane crash without any memories, which her family are trying to edit. “The Fiddler” by Beverly Lewis is another Amish novel set in Hickory Hollow, Penn. “When Captain Flint Was Still A Good Man” by Nick Dybek follows the fishermen of a fictional fishing community on the Olympic Peninsula who spend the winter catching king crab in the Bering Sea. “Narcopolis” by Jeet Thayil explores the underworld of Bombay. “Absolution” by Patrick Flanery is a novel about secrets around the disappearance 20 years ago of a young South African woman. “Lover Reborn” by J.R. Ward is the latest in the Black Dagger Brotherhood vampire series.

Short stories

“I Am an Executioner” by Rajesh Parameswaran is a collection of nine stories about the power of love and the love of power.

Books on CD

“Letter from a Stranger” by Barbara Taylor Bradford traces the effect on a family after a letter reveals that a long-thought-dead grandmother is alive and well. “The Innocent” by David Baldacci follows a hit man who becomes a target himself when he refuses a kill ordered by the U.S. government. “The Witness” by Nora Roberts tells of a small town Ozarks police chief who tries to find the secrets one of his citizens is hiding. “The Wind through the Keyhole” by Stephen King returns to the rich Mid-World landscape of the Dark Tower fantasy saga. “Capitol Murder” by Phillip Margolin is a serial killer thriller set in Washington, D.C. “The Beginner’s Goodbye” by Anne Tyler follows a crippled man’s ability to move on after his wife, who has been killed, makes unexpected appearances. ’“Come Home” by Lisa Scottoline is the story of a mother who sacrifices her future for a child from her past. “Guilty Wives” by James Patterson and David Ellis tells of four women whose pampered vacation becomes a scary crime scene.

Memoirs and biographies

“The Big Miss” by Hank Haney is a candid account of his six years coaching Tiger Woods. “A Natural Woman” by Carole King is the singer-songwriter’s story behind her music. “The Passage of Power” by Robert A. Caro is book four in the political biography of former President Lyndon Johnson. “The Amateur” by Edward Klein calls itself an expose of President Barack Obama and one of the most secretive White Houses in history. “The Jefferson Lies” by David Barton claims to expose the myths most of us believe about America’s third president. “Service” by Navy Seal Marcus Lutterell returns to several war zones with tributes to the warrior brotherhood.

Other nonfiction

“The Righteous Mind” by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt explores the origins of the divisions between politicians and offers ways to have them work together for the common good. “The Power of Habit” by New York Times Business reporter Charles Duhigg tells of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. “Gardening for a Lifetime” by Sydney Eddison offers practical advice for older gardeners who don’t want to stop their favorite pastime. “This is How” by Augusten Burroughs offers aid in overcoming grief, disease, obesity and other major issues.

Thanks to our donors

For their generous donations in memory of Kent Davis, we thank Ron and Cindy Gustafson, as well as Bob and Lisa Scott. For books and materials this week, we thank Madera Bass, Bamma Laizure and Kathie Marchand.

Quotable quote

“Right now, the state of the art, in terms of research-based practice is: Read traditional books with your child. We don’t have any evidence that any kind of electronic device is better than a parent.” — Julia Parish-Morris, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, in a New York Times article on e-readers.


For more information on library books, services and programs —and to reserve books from the comfort of your home — please visit our website at

blog comments powered by Disqus