Pagosa Springs, Circa 1909
The ancient Indians who once
populated what is now Southwest Colorado named this area "Pahgosa",
meaning "Healing Waters".
It is said that when the first
white explorers entered this area in July, 1858, there were
well-beaten trails leading off in all directions.
|The image to the right is the
Big Pagosa Hot Spring as it appears today.
The bubbles on the
water are caused by natural carbon dioxide emitted by the
spring. The surface temperature of the spring averages 136 degrees
See the modern-day hot springs resort area.
The Pagosa Springs area is rich in geothermal
energy resources. Many of the buildings in downtown Pagosa
Springs are heated by hot spring water.
Learn more about the geology of the area.
Learn how Pagosa Springs has harnessed
the clean geothermal energy from its springs.
Downtown Pagosa Springs, Circa 2001
Some Area Links
Chamber of Commerce
Pagosa Springs Sun
Pagosa Springs School System
San Juan National Forest
Wolf Creek Ski Area
|Helen Peterson, wife of Jack
Peterson, was well-respected in the area for the excellent masonery
work she did.
This example encloses a natural hot spring in
the center of town. Over time this spring has formed a cone of
calcium deposits through which hot water bubbles.
Captain John N.
Macomb, an engineer surveying a route west for the U.S. Army, is
reputed to be the first white American to discover the hot springs
in July, 1858.
He wrote, It can scarcely be doubted that in the
future years it will become a celebrated place of resort.
1867, ownership of the springs was contested by the Utes and the
Navajo Indians. Tribal skirmishes failed to gain an advantage
for either side. The tribes decided to settle the right of ownership
by sending one man from each tribe to do battle. Colonel
Albert Pfieffer, long time friend of the Utes and a foe of the
Navajos, agreed to do battle for the Utes.
Both men stripped
to the waist and armed themselves with knives. Pfieffer
quickly out-maneuvered the Navajo and defeated him. The
Navajos accepted the defeat and the Utes claimed the springs until
1874, when the Burnett Agreement was signed and the white man
received possession of the springs.
In the late 1800s several
bath houses were constructed and a town grew around the
springs. Many people came to take advantage of the remarkable
curative powers of the hot springs.
Today, hot mineral baths
and a hot mineral swimming pool are operated by nearby motels.
The hot mineral water still holds an aura of mystery and many
attest to its therapeutic value.
The hot springs will
undoubtedly play a major role in the future of Pagosa Springs.
Archive images on this page courtesy Denver Public Library, Western