Pagosa’s Past: Pagosa Country pioneers

Photo courtesy John M. Motter
Pioneer Eudolphus M. Taylor, shown with his team in this photo, lived near the Jule Macht house in town. He likely had a carriage house for the team shown in this photo.

By John M. Motter
PREVIEW Columnist
Today’s column focuses on the Macht family, early day Pagosa pioneers. I had the privilege some years ago of spending considerable time talking with Ray Macht about Pagosa history and his family history.
A drive through town a few weeks ago and a follow-up telephone call is what triggered this column. I started with a question: Have you ever driven past something year after year without really looking at it? OK, so I’m the only one to be so careless.
As it happened, I was driving eastward down Lewis Street through its intersection with 3rd Street, the entry to Mesa Heights. I enjoy that drive almost daily because it isn’t unusual to see wild turkeys and the town mule deer herd in that vicinity. As I eased through the intersection, a phenomenon from the right caught my eye. What is that, I wondered? Standing there on the east side of 3rd Street between Pagosa and Lewis streets were two two-story brown frame buildings.
My mind began to churn. On the south end of that same block next to the two buildings is a red brick building. The idea fermenting in my mind was, somewhere, sometime, that red brick building had been built by pioneer Jule Macht. I knew Jule had run a cattle ranch up in the headwaters of the Little Blanco River. It was common during pioneer days for ranch homesteaders to maintain a home in town. That way they could go to the store, go to church and the kids go to school without fighting the snow between the ranch and town. It seemed logical to assume that the two buildings on 3rd Street next to the red brick house had been built by Jule Macht. He would likely have needed a building in which to park carriages and carts and a place to keep a horse or two.
And, so, last week, I placed a phone call to John and Jean Taylor, who, along with other Pagosaites, were enjoying Arizona sunshine while the rest of us shovel snow.
Jean Taylor is a descendant of the Macht family. She answered my questions by confirming the guess that those buildings on 3rd Street had been built by Jule. She said he owned almost half of that city block. I also referred to a story on the Macht family I had written in The SUN a few years ago based on information from Ray. The family history as Pagosa pioneers is worth repeating, so watch for it in next week’s column.