In the early days, circa 1900, Pagosa Springs had a band called the Columbine Band. A surprising number of community members played musical instruments.
Naturally, because a band needs a place to perform, in 1899 the town built a bandstand — you could call it a gazebo — next to the Town Hall located at the intersection of San Juan and Pagosa streets.
The gazebo did a bit of traveling, moving first to Town Park in 1902 and then to Triangle Park. Triangle Park was located on the southeast corner of the Lewis Street, San Juan Street intersection. Town Hall also moved to Triangle Park, where it remained until the present Town Hall was built a few years ago.
The Columbine Band played on the Fourth of July and on other festive occasions in Pagosa Springs. It also functioned as an ambassador of good will by participating in parades in surrounding communities.
Hilltop Cemetery was in use as early as 1901 on land donated to the town by Kate Slick. The board soon discovered the donated land did not belong to Slick; it was homestead land she failed to prove up on. Finally, in 1905, the town paid the amount of money necessary to patent the cemetery grounds.
In October of 1905, A.T. Sullenburger was granted a right of way through certain Pagosa streets allowing for use by the Pagosa Lumber Co., owned by Sullenburger.
In those early days, so-called “sin” taxes supported the town, which had no property or sales tax income. Appearing on the town magistrate’s docket for 1906 were monthly fines of $5 each paid by certain named ladies for being “inmates of a house of ill repute.” All of the businesses selling alcoholic beverages were heavily taxed.
A major fire in 1904 ravaged about half of the town’s main business block along Pagosa Street. In truth, few of the first buildings remain in Pagosa Springs because of fires. In its early days starting in 1878, Pagosa Springs did not have the substantial brick buildings featured in the first mining boom towns such as Silverton, Ouray, Telluride and Creede. Wooden buildings and no community water system led to the demise of many frontier communities.
An ordinance licensing theatrical exhibitions, amusements and shows was adopted by the town board in 1907. As early as the 1890s, shows featuring a variety of optical-light devices were being held at the Patrick House, Gross Hall and Phillip’s Hall.
Moving pictures arrived in Pagosa Springs in 1907. The first show was on the second floor of Hatcher’s Hall. Hatcher’s Hall was earlier known as Phillip’s Hall. This building, constructed with adobe blocks, remains on Pagosa Street. It’s builder was Alice Phillips, with construction beginning in 1898. A public meeting room upstairs was known as Phillip’s Hall. When the building was completed, Hatcher rented one half and Bowling the other half, using the space for their businesses. Hatcher later purchased and added on to the building, which became known as the Hatcher Building. In 1921, Hatcher sold the building to Dave Hersch and it became known as the Hersch Building. For many years, Hersch operated a grocery store in the building. It was still called the Hersch Building when I moved to Pagosa Springs circa 1970.