During the early 1900s, Pagosa Springs acquired conveniences we take for granted today. Among those amenities were a bank, a flour mill, a telephone system, electricity, municipal water and geothermal heating.
In February of 1901, an item in “The Weekly Times” — Pagosa had more than one newspaper in those days, but The Pagosa SUN had not been founded yet — reported: “F.A. Collins of Pueblo arrived Saturday evening. Mr. Collins will fit up and run the first bank of Pagosa Springs with the aid of Mr. Freeman of Durango. No doubt he will build up a good banking business. Mr. Collins brought his family and will live under the same roof that the bank will be run.”
Collins set up his banking business in the building formerly occupied by the Leavenworth Drug Company on ground where the county clerk’s office is today in the county courthouse. Collin’s bank was called, appropriately enough, The First Bank of Pagosa Springs. It was a branch of the Colorado State Bank of Durango. F.A. Collins was cashier and manager. B.N. Freeman was president.
Prior to the opening of the First Bank of Pagosa Springs, local people with a need to borrow money had to travel to banks outside of the community, or borrow locally from private lenders. John E. Colton and E.M. Taylor were among the most prominent of the private lenders. Colton worked from his home in a small log cabin on the north side of Pagosa Street between 2nd and 3rd streets. That cabin remained in place until a few years ago when it was moved to the Fred Harman Art Museum, where it remains.
A committee appointed by the Pagosa Springs Town Board reported in March of 1901 on the cost of a proposed municipal water system: “18,000 will put in a water works with a capacity sufficient for 4,000 people.” In an election held April 2, 26 persons voted for and three persons voted against bonds to finance the water works.