The county seat (1867, 7,697 feet) was born in a gold rush and sustained by its grain mills and live-stock ranches. Otto Mears, the “Pathfinder of the San Juans,” founded one of several flour mills here, built area toll roads, and helped bring the Los Pinos Ute Indian Agency here. In this sleepy nineteenth-century town, buildings have long life expectancies. The largest edifice on 4th Street, the main street, is the two-story Italianate Masonic temple neighboring the vernacular Art Deco Ute Theater and the false-fronted office of The Saguache Crescent, one of Colorado's last newspapers set in metal type on a Linotype machine. Housing ranges from a hewn log, L-shaped house, on the northwest corner of 3rd Street and San Juan Avenue, to a split-level cottonwood tree house behind the St. Agnes Catholic Church.
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