Coming of the railroad to Pagosa Springs

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Photo courtesy John M. Motter Lumber mills were scattered around Archuleta County during the early 1900s. The workers lived in lumber shanties owned by the mill owners. When the timber was cut from a particular site, the mill was moved to a new site among as yet uncut trees. The worker’s homes were moved by rail to the newest site, as depicted in this photograph.
Photo courtesy John M. Motter
Lumber mills were scattered around Archuleta County during the early 1900s. The workers lived in lumber shanties owned by the mill owners. When the timber was cut from a particular site, the mill was moved to a new site among as yet uncut trees. The worker’s homes were moved by rail to the newest site, as depicted in this photograph.

The fledgling town of Pagosa Junction was less than one year old in June of 1900, yet, according to The News, it was home to 300 people. Calling the town a “hummer” the editor of The News wrote, “The Pagosa Lumber Company ships nearly 300 car loads of lumber a month and employs about 150 men … The workers live mostly in their own cottages, all of which have a picket fence enclosing a yard.”

A construction train of the Pagosa and Northern Railroad steamed into Pagosa Springs the evening of Oct. 13, 1900. It was the first train into Pagosa Springs. Regularly scheduled trains began running Oct. 22. According to the first schedule, the train left Pagosa Junction at 1:45 p.m. and arrived in Pagosa Springs at 3:55 p.m. On the return trip, the train left Pagosa Springs at 4:35 p.m. and reached Pagosa Junction at 6:55 p.m.

A large number of Pagosa Springs citizens greeted A.T. Sullenburger as he stepped from his coach on the Rio Grande, Pagosa and Northern’s inaugural run.

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