‘Hoop la!’: The railroad comes to Pagosa

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Photo courtesy John M. Motter The old Pagosa Springs Town Hall also served as a library and fire station. The regional landmark stood on the riverbank at the corner of San Juan and Pagosa streets.
Photo courtesy John M. Motter
The old Pagosa Springs Town Hall also served as a library and fire station. The regional landmark stood on the riverbank at the corner of San Juan and Pagosa streets.

Great progress was made in 1899 toward providing the services expected of a town. Launching the progress was the expectation that the Pagosa and Northern Railroad would soon arrive and connect Pagosa Springs with the outside world.

When the Pagosa News heard of the railroad’s impending arrival, the editor quipped, “The railroad is coming. Hoop la!”

In the same edition of the News, there was a report that the town board had appointed a committee to study the cost of building a water works. Editor Daniel L. Egger proclaimed, “Railroads and water works. Say, our city is strictly in the push!”

In truth, the town board had done little since the town incorporated in 1891. They’d passed a few ordinances dealing with public health. In an effort to overcome the terrible nuisance of muddy streets during the wet months, a great push was made to install board sidewalks. They were installed just about everywhere, 8 feet wide in the business district and 4 feet wide in residential districts.

In 1896, the board had paid Charlie Schaad, known as the Dutchman, $100 for a building to be used as a town hall.

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