When mining activity increased along the upper valley of the Animas River in the San Juan Mountains following cessation of the Civil War, circa 1870, supporting communities sprouted and grew along the lower valley of the river. The miners needed food, drink and other supplies.
One of the most important supply routes was the old road that passed near the Pagosa Hot Springs. Passenger and freight traffic along the old road picked up considerably when Gen. Palmer’s narrow gauge railroad passed into the San Luis Valley on the east side and exited the valley on the west side via Cumbres Pass and Chama.
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