October 5, 1911 Archuleta County was victim of a devastating flood. An estimate of property loss was reported in The Pagosa Springs SUN at $1,000,000.
All county bridges were reported “out.” This included the bridge in downtown, which also held the pipeline for the town’s water supply. Following the flood a cable was suspended across the river to provide a way for people to cross the river, and a way for food to be passed to the other side.
The SUN reported 10-15 residents in the park area and along Hermosa Street were destroyed with another 40-50 damaged to a “great extent.”
The Dr. Nossaman residence, about a mile upstream, was also a total loss. The electric plant was also reported to be a complete loss. The train tracks were washed out, halting train service and mail delivery to Pagosa Springs, and areas surrounding the town were also affected.
Edith suffered heavy losses and the sawmill there was shut down due to the damage. Pagosa Junction suffered heavy flooding as we can see from the photo above provided by Jim Godfrey.
In the Dyke area west of Pagosa Springs farmers and ranchers lost hay, grain and crops. “One sheep man lost all of his wool and camp,” was reported in The SUN. In the Blanco region of southern Archuleta County crops were also lost.
Fortunately, only two lives were lost in the flooding — Jake Dowell and his son-in-law Mr. Turner died as they were attempting to clear drift wood that had lodged above their blacksmith shop on Mill Creek.
Flood details from The Pagosa Springs SUN of October 6, 1911.