TABB - Lumberton, NM

Lumberton, NM

GPS Location: 36.93001, -106.93698

Miles from Chama: 23.33 Miles

Miles from Durango: 80.69 Miles

“By the fall of 1893, despite the depression, the lumber business was stirring again. By early September Biggs had located forty acres of land along the D&RG several miles west of Amargo, and planned to lay part of it off in town lots and establish a mill there. The D&RG installed a spur which it labeled "Lumbertown.", and on December 1, the Pagosa Springs News announced that the new town would be called "Lumberton", and that it was likely that the settlement of Amargo would be moved there. Railway Age about the same time said that the D&RG planned to move the Amargo depot there, for the birth of Lumberton signaled the death of Amargo.


In March, 1894, the Pagosa Springs News described the new town: In a little park among the hills, about three miles from Amargo, where three months ago there was nothing but a waste

of sage brush our town has sprung up like magic. The New Mexico Lumber company's mill, hotels, stores, saloons, dwellings and shops have been put up as rapidly as lumber and carpenters could be secured, and still the building goes on. Car load lots of lumber were being shipped out daily, the hotels were crowded and everyone was rushed with business. Lumberton is no temporary lumber camp," boasted one resident, "but a wide awake town that has come to stay." Surprisingly, his prediction was accurate. There was a flaw to this prosperity: Lumberton

was nearly unique among lumber camps in that it was not located on a reliable stream. By the first of June, 1894, Price & Company, who had been exploring along the Navajo River for oil, brought in a drilling rig and began drilling for water near the sawmill. "Unless [Lumberton] can secure water we fail to see how it can become a permanent town," said the Pagosa Springs News. Lumberton residents anxiously watched the drilling. Amargo Creek was nearly dry and even adobe makers could hardly get enough water for their work. By July 27 the new well was down 200 feet, and the only water struck thus far was "not fit for any use whatever." By October, however, good water had been found and the well was reportedly supplying all the needs of the mill. But eventually even this well water turned brackish; it created scale in boilers and foamed in the water gauges in the mill plant and on railroad engines. Anyway, Biggs had earlier announced his intention to erect mills on the Rio Navajo and near Chromo; the Lumberton plant had never been intended for more than a year or two of sawing.”[1]


“Once timber in the Lumberton mill-yard was shipped out, the Lumberton mill was removed to Chama. Lumberton thus declined as a lumber processing center, but rather than disappearing, took on new importance as a railroad junction point. "A depot is to be erected at Lumberton at once-if it don't fail again," reported the Pagosa Springs News on June 21, and on July 5 the paper said the Amargo depot would be moved there at once. By July 12 the Amargo agency had been discontinued and a new one opened in Lumberton, and by July 19 the Amargo depot building itself was being torn down and removed to Lumberton.”[2]

[1] Logging along the Denver & Rio Grande, Gordon S. Chappell, page 30

[2] Logging along the Denver & Rio Grande, Gordon S. Chappell, page 33