Amargo’s residents make a move

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Photo courtesy John M. Motter This is an early view of Edith, circa 1900, when it flourished with a population over 300, the most modern lumber mill in Colorado, a grist mill, the county’s first electrical generating plant, a school, church, post office and a number of businesses.
Photo courtesy John M. Motter
This is an early view of Edith, circa 1900, when it flourished with a population over 300, the most modern lumber mill in Colorado, a grist mill, the county’s first electrical generating plant, a school, church, post office and a number of businesses.

Last week, we began the story of how the New Mexico town of Lumberton started and how the older town of Amargo met its end.

Amargo was founded circa 1880 as a base camp for the workers building the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad between Chama and what would become Durango. Amargo was as wild as any western town ever was, but, by 1893, things were getting a bit more civilized. At that time, the stage coach carrying goods and passengers from the railroad to Pagosa Springs started at Amargo. Amargo had a number of businesses flanked by residences.

According to the July 1893 edition of the Pagosa News, a man by the name of Vorhang living in Amargo was awarded homestead title to the section of land the town sat on. Vorhang risked his life by attempting to collect rent from the squatters (everybody) already living there. Vorhang received a number of bumps and bruises and barely escaped with his life before the townspeople changed tactics, held a town meeting and agreed to move lock, stock and barrel to a site approximately 1 mile west of Amargo.

They called the new town Lumberton in honor of the new lumber mill Ed Biggs established there. Biggs had been logging and lumbering in northern New Mexico for years, his most recent effort being a mill at the coal town of Monero a few miles to the east.

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.