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chaffee county history

Poncha Springs ... and Salida ....

ponchas springs courthouse ponchas springs courthouse
ponchas springs courthouse
ponchas springs courthouse

Poncha Springs (US 50 and CO 285) -– The first written description of this area was recorded by Spanish governor Juan Bautista de Anza, who led 600 soldiers from Santa Fé augmented by Ute Indian warriors over Poncha Pass in August 1779 on their way to the eastern plains and victory over Comanche Indians under chief Cuerno Verde.  

The town on the South Arkansas River at the bottom of the pass, the gateway to the San Luis Valley, was platted as Poncho Springs in 1879.  It grew as a railroad junction and popular resort because of its location and healthful hot springs.  The historic Jackson Hotel records visits by notables of the time, both famous and infamous. Today it sustains Chaffee County’s third largest community and the flag flies proudly from the cupola on the prominent two-story Town Hall, which was completed in 1883 as a school in the Italianate style.

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