The Barton's Well
Upon the pioneers' arrival in the Bluff valley, water for cooking and drinking was carried from
the San Juan River. According to Mary mackelprang Jones, water from the San Juan "...was so
hard and muddy cottonwood ashes were put in it to stand overnight, thus cleaning and settling
it for morning use.
Within weeks, wells were dug where water was found at depths of 16 to 20 feet. A large well in
the center of the fort initially supplied culinary water for all. As the pioneers moved from the
fort, wells were dug on each town lot.
In 1906 an artesian well was drilled east of town. By 1908 water lines from the artesian well
were delivering culinary water throughout Bluff.
When restoration work began on this site, this well was just a depression in the ground.
Excavation revealed the original stone walls fot he well. For safety reasons, the well has not
been excavated to its original depth.
Photo is of a Bluff cabin that no longer exists, USHS Archives.