When the first settlers came across the Great Pagosa Hot Springs over 150 years ago, they noticed the ground around the pool to be packed by human foot prints with paths radiating out from the 75 foot diameter bubbling pool like spokes from the hub of a wheel. Native Americans had been enjoying the waters of this natural hot mineral spring for generations before others found the special waters.
The medicinal effects of the water were studied by U.S. Army physicians in the 1860s and their reports concluded: "The waters of Pagosa are without doubt the most wonderful and beneficial in medicinal effects that have ever been discovered." As the news spread and the area became more inhabited by the Army, railroad crews, and settlers, the first bath house was erected in 1881, four years after Pagosa was designated a township by the U.S. Government. As rail travel reached Pagosa in 1900, travelers came from far and wide to "take the waters". Then, with the advent of new advances in medicine, health seeking travel began to wane. Rail service to Pagosa ceased in 1936. Not until the 1950s did "new motels" begin to be erected for the driving public seeking the waters again.
The Classic building at The Springs Resort was part of the original motel and was originally called The Spring Inn by a previous owner. The most famous visitors to the Inn were John Wayne during the filming of the movie The Cowboys in the late 1960s, and World War II hero Major Jimmy Doolittle, of Doolittle's Raid on Tokyo.
The Spring Inn went out of business by the late 1980s and new owners purchased the property in the early 1990s. The Inn had 4 plastic tubs for soaking, which were corroded and could only be filled with a garden hose. But, the health-seeking movement was about to begin anew in the '90s and the world-class resort that is today's Springs Resort was beginning to take shape.
Captain J. N. Macomb, U. S. Army Surveyor and the first settler to write about the spring, entered into his journal, "There can scarcely be a more beautiful place on the face of the earth." He also predicted in his writings that the area around the Great Spring would some day "become a place of great resort". A visit to The Springs Resort today is proof positive of Captain Macomb's vision and great gift of prophecy.