Society for the History of Discoveries


    Dirk de Pagter photo    

Dirk de Pagter

Telluride Real Estate Brokers, Inc.


San Juan Rush


From the earliest Spanish explorers in the 16th century through the ghost town experience of today, the American South West and the San Juan Mountains in particular have had its fair share of seekers of fortune. The topic of the "San Juan Rush" will take us from the early mythical period of the search for gold in Cibola and Quivira, through the latter Spanish silver searching entradas, to the first Anglo American explorers of the San Juan Mountains and onto the first prospectors and their conflicts with the native population. We will study the progress from the initial trails to wagon roads with stagecoach service, onto some of the most spectacular narrow gage railroads, examining the golden age of San Juan mining history and the inevitable decline when the pay dirt ran out.


Dirk de Pagter was born and raised in the Netherlands. He and his wife Patrice moved to Telluride, Colorado in the mid 1970ís. Dirk has always been interested in History and as a young man living in the Netherlands was fascinated by the Cartography of the Dutch Golden Age. After moving to the US and living in the American West his interests were drawn to the mapping of the Trans Mississippi West and how rapid this vast expanse of blank wilderness was mapped and settled. For years Dirk has been collecting maps of the American West, Colorado and particularly the San Juan Mountains and its gold and silver rushes. Dirk recognized that his new home was rich in history reflected in its early cartography. The exploration and development of the San Juan Mountains was of great historic value and interest. Dirk is a member of the Rocky Mountain Map Society and an avid rafter and skier. In good Dutch tradition he has circumnavigated the globe in his sail boat "The Espadon."