1892: A new church, mining claims, timber and more

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Photo courtesy John M. Motter The Walter Himes family purchased a ranch on the San Juan West Fork that had been homesteaded in Mineral County by a Summitville miner named Berlin.
Photo courtesy John M. Motter
The Walter Himes family purchased a ranch on the San Juan West Fork that had been homesteaded in Mineral County by a Summitville miner named Berlin.

In May of 1892, The Pagosa Springs News reported: “Pagosa Springs will hereafter constitute a charge of the Methodist Episcopal Church and Rev. H. Harpst will be the resident minister. Services will be held twice every Sabbath at 11:00 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. The first service will be held on the first Sunday in May.”

Churchgoers had been meeting since Fort Lewis was established in Pagosa Springs in 1878. Early services were held in a log cabin near the Great Pagosa Hot Spring. Traveling preachers ministered to the needs of the locals, often meeting in the school houses. The above announcement marked the beginning of the local Methodist church and first resident pastor.

A plethora of mining claims excited the community during 1892. A.D. Archuleta reported a silver find on the Weminuche that promised to be “a second Creede.” Mason Farrow reported a gold strike on the Piedra River and others reported strikes on the Navajo and Blanco Rivers, Turkey Creek, Four Mile Creek and the San Juan River. None of these strikes amounted to anything, nor did they create much of a rush to Pagosa Springs. The claim on Turkey Creek was more extensively developed than the others, but we know of no paying ore shipped from there.