Logging and lumber mills created communities

11
Photo courtesy John M. Motter The Pagosa Lumber Company exerted a powerful influence over the town and county from about 1901 until it was moved to Dulce in 1916. Townspeople learned to tolerate the noise of the machinery, the smoke from the burners and the continual presence of sawdust which constantly settled on everything in town.
Photo courtesy John M. Motter
The Pagosa Lumber Company exerted a powerful influence over the town and county from about 1901 until it was moved to Dulce in 1916. Townspeople learned to tolerate the noise of the machinery, the smoke from the burners and the continual presence of sawdust which constantly settled on everything in town.

The spread of logging and lumber mills across Archuleta County following the arrival of the railroad created a number of communities across the county. Each lumber mill had its own collection of tar paper shacks where the some 500 loggers and mill workers lived. Almost each community had a school and many had a post office.

Edith on the Navajo River and Pagosa Junction on the San Juan River rivaled Pagosa Springs in population. Both communities had schools, at least a Catholic church, post offices and a number of businesses. Pagosa Junction even had hotels and a short-lived newspaper.

Additional communities developed at Chromo, Trujillo, Juanita and Carracas. In the western part of the county, sizable communities flourished at Arboles, Rosa and Allison near the junction of the San Juan and Piedra rivers, and a community called Chimney Rock or sometimes Piedra near the U.S. 160 crossing of the Piedra River. Along the railroad connecting Pagosa Junction with Pagosa Springs were the communities of Talian, Alturas, Kearns, Lone Tree, Hall, Dyke, Nutria, Hatcher and Sunetha.

Many of the mill communities had company stores where the workers could buy groceries and other necessities. The old song with the line, “I owe my soul to the company store,” was often a fact of life.

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.