A time trip through Pagosa Springs

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Photo courtesy John M. Motter This building served as one of Pagosa Springs’ first hotels. It was erected by a pioneer family which served the community well.
Photo courtesy John M. Motter
This building served as one of Pagosa Springs’ first hotels. It was erected by a pioneer family which served the community well.

With today’s column, we begin a time trip through pioneer Pagosa Springs with Daniel Egger, editor and publisher of the brand new Pagosa Springs News, as tour guide.

During the summer of 1891, we read, “There is considerable building being done in and about Pagosa Springs this summer … the Strawns house on the north side is now receiving guests … W. H. Kern will put on a stage line between Pagosa Springs and Durango starting next Monday … A.D. Garvin opened his ‘Little Parlour’ saloon to the public on Tuesday evening … J.V. Johnson came up from Chama last Thursday, accompanied by L. Hersch. The latter gentleman is from Santa Fe and will take charge of Mr. Johnson’s store at this place … The San Juan Hotel has not had a vacant bed or room this past week.”

The above brief items indicate a growth spurt in Pagosa Springs at that time. The Strawns house was a two-story wooden hotel which stood on Pagosa Street, just north of today’s school district administration building.

Full of local history, it was still standing when I moved to Pagosa Springs some 40 years ago, but has since burned. It was erected by James C. Strawn, who was one of the first to use the Morse code as a telegrapher. The Strawns also had a homestead at the mouth of Turkey Creek and operated horse-drawn freight wagons across Elwood Pass. He was a member of the first town council following incorporation of Pagosa Springs in 1891.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.