By Ann Oldham
Special to The PREVIEW
According to Virginia Decker, “In 1970, Glenn Edmonds put a notice in The Pagosa Springs SUN that there would be a meeting in the R.E.A. Building for anyone who might be interested in starting a museum to preserve old historical records and items. A large group attended and with much discussion, a society was formed with Worthe Crouse as chairman, Louise Kleckner, secretary, and Virginia Decker, treasurer. A committee was appointed to submit a name for the society, which was accepted as the San Juan Historical Society.”
Later, to avoid confusion with the San Juan Historical Society in Silverton, Colo., we became known as the Pagosa Springs History Museum.
The “Job Corps program of the U.S. Forest Service was phasing out, the Forest Service helped us acquire this ‘wash room’ from the Navajo Tribe,” Decker explained. This is the first room in the museum. The town offered the society the old Pagosa Springs Water Works, now the second room in the museum.
“Most of that summer, a group of concerned and, I might add, ambitious, citizens went out after working hours, night after night, to dismantle the inside walls, which were made of cement blocks. We took them down, cleaned the mortar off and stacked them to be hauled and used again after the building was moved. We acquired the bathroom and shower fixtures as well,” Decker explained.
She added, “Worthe Crouse volunteered to move the building for us, so with him and the good help of his son George, we got the building moved to its present location. We now had to get money and donations for a foundation and floor to put the building on. This was done with our membership drive and donations of money and help and materials. Vic and Al Montano donated labor. Riverside Ready Mix donated cement and the county filled the Water Works Room with rock so the floor could be poured at the same time. Milton Scheining roughed in the plumbing. Elemet Group helped with welding and the lumber mills donated lumber, and we were ready for the building.
“Worthe and George Crouse and their crew had constructed a heavy frame on a large truck, which allowed them to drive the truck into the building, rest the building onto the frame and then drive the truck with the building on top, right onto the highway. This process was done twice, since the building had to be cut in two — it was too large to move in one piece. After the two sections were placed on the cement platform, the building was welded back together, ready to house the museum.”
We are now continuing the dreams of the charter members, planning to expand our museum into the area formerly used by the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District this fall and winter.
A group has formed to do a fundraising auction on Aug. 24 at 11 a.m. in Town Park. We are asking for donations of and items to be auctioned. Or, if you prefer to donate money, our address is Pagosa Springs History Museum, P.O. Box 1711, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. We are tax-exempt.
Due to a limited budget, we are unable to be open but part time. We need more volunteers; please call 264-4424.
Pagosa Springs History Museum announces fundraiser to expand
By Ann Oldham