An account of Pagosa’s Fort Lewis

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Photo courtesy John M. Motter This 1901 photo looking east across Pagosa Springs shows a narrow-gauge train parked by the railroad station and water tower in the western part of town, approximately located between Seventh and Eighth streets. In the center is a stream of water sprouting into the air, possibly from the same geothermal well still located in the parking lot between the river and Pagosa Street.
Photo courtesy John M. Motter
This 1901 photo looking east across Pagosa Springs shows a narrow-gauge train parked by the railroad station and water tower in the western part of town, approximately located between Seventh and Eighth streets. In the center is a stream of water sprouting into the air, possibly from the same geothermal well still located in the parking lot between the river and Pagosa Street.

For some weeks, we have been describing Indian unrest and the U.S. Army response to the unrest by building Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs. Construction of Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs began late in 1878. By 1882, Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs had been shut down, replaced by Fort Lewis in Hesperus, near the La Plata River.

What had the Pagosa fort been like? An Army inspector, Maj. J.J. Coppinger, inspected Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs Aug. 13, 1879. His report probably contains the most accurate account of the buildings actually constructed there.

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