100-Year Flood on the San Juan

The worst natural disaster in Archuleta county occurred 100 years ago when the San Juan River changed “from a pleasant, smiling stream to an angry, raging, terrific river” (SUN, 1911). With well above average precipitation that winter, spring, and summer the river crested its banks and flooded on October 5, 1911. Two men lost their lives, residences were destroyed, and all of the bridges in the county were washed out. In addition, the Town was without utilities for over a month, the jail was carried 35 miles downstream, and the park was covered with mud two to three feet deep.