The first Catholic church in Pagosa Springs

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    Photo courtesy John M. Motter This photograph looking southwesterly across town shows the old school building built in 1885 and the Catholic church built in 1893 at the corner of Lewis and Third streets.
    Photo courtesy John M. Motter
    This photograph looking southwesterly across town shows the old school building built in 1885 and the Catholic church built in 1893 at the corner of Lewis and Third streets.

    Erection of the first Catholic church in Pagosa Springs was announced in a September 1893 Pagosa News item which read, “The Catholics of this place have decided to build a church. The intention is to have the church completed by spring. There is a large number of Catholics in and around Pagosa, to which this will be good news.”

    The Catholic church described was erected on Lewis Street adjacent to the first school house built by the county in 1885, shortly after the county had been legally created.

    Prior to creation of Archuleta County, the land which became the county had been a school district within Conejos County, one of the original 16 counties created when Colorado became a territory in 1861. The school was on the northeast corner of the 3rd Street and Lewis Street intersection. The church was on the lot on the east side of the school building.

    There have been a number of Catholic churches in Archuleta County. Those places include Edith, Trujillo, Juanita, Pagosa Junction, Carracas, Rosa, Arboles, Frances and at least two on Cat Creek Road, one of them being located at Lone Tree and the other at Kearns. I believe another church was located at the Yamaguchi Lumber mill on Cat Creek. Records of Catholic church activities in Archuleta County are maintained by the church in Durango.

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