Saguache County is steeped in a rich history and boasts a wealth of historic sites. Here are a few of the best:
Robertson’s Flour Mill: The original grist mill was constructed by Otto Mears in the late 1860s to provide flour for the Indian agency and the settlers of the northern area of the San Luis Valley. It is one of the few water-powered grist mills still standing in the Western United States. Tours can be arranged by appointment only by calling 719-221-3869.
Downtown Saguache: Saguache began as a trading post on the Old Spanish Trail and flourished as a supply center for the surrounding mining camps. Since the railroad never extended to this corner of the County, it remains an endearing sleepy downtown. Pamphlets describing the downtown are available at the Museum, Hazard House, and the Saguache Crescent (one of the few linotype newspapers still in publication).
Bonanza: Bonanza sits nestled at the base of the southern Sawatch Mountains. Founded in 1880 as a thriving mining camp, it is now the smallest incorporated town in Colorado, with a population of just 16. Visitors to Bonanza may explore its historic cemeteries and take in the views of the aspen covered peaks named for the Ute tribal leaders, Chipeta and Ouray and Mount KIA/MIA. Signage in the town and a U.S. Forest Service brochure interprets this historic mining district.
Crestone School House: The old Crestone Schoolhouse is a National Historic Register site that dates to the 1880s. This rural schoolhouse served local schoolchildren until 1949. The School House is now the Community Center and located on Cottonwood St.
Moffat Community Church: The church was built by the town’s citizens using a machine ordered from the Sear’s catalogue which formed concrete blocks to look like stone, which were then mortared together. This is the second year of a Colorado State Historical Society grant to preserve this valuable historical structure and convert it into a community center and town hall. www.moffatcolorado.com
Old Spanish Trail Markers: In several places, the roads and highways of the Saguache County intersect the Old Spanish Trail, a historic trade route linking Santa Fe, NM with Los Angeles, CA. This route followed even earlier routes established by Native Americans. In 2002, the Old Spanish Trail became part of the National Historic Trails system. http://www.oldspanishtrail.org