This picturesque village is the northern gateway to the San Luis Valley. Once a bustling stop on the narrow gauge railway during mining times, this sleepy little town is coming alive again. Surrounded by farm and cattle ranches, Highway 285 provides access through the center of this community.
Villa Grove offers a general store, two cafes, an art gallery, a production pottery shop, a liquor store, a motel: The Inn at Villa Grove, and two bed & breakfasts: Casa Azul and La Esquela. La Esquela also hosts the largest Raku Pottery celebration, UVAPAPA in early September.
Villa Grove also boasts of having two magnificent hot springs just minutes away: Valley View Hot Springs and the
Joyful Journey Hot Springs,
both with overnight accommodations. Hayden Pass just east of town, is the new jumping off point for hanggliders and borders a guided pheasant hunting ranch as well.
Stop at Villa Grove for more information on area attractions.
Villa Grove originally called Norton Villa and was named after the stage agent Frank Norton. The stage stop was located on property belonging to Francis M. Hill who moved to Colorado in 1873. When the mining camps near Bonanza began producing in 1880 Villa Grove became a supply center. Soon the wagon and stage traffic gave way to the railroad. When the railroad built south to Alamosa in 1890 some of the trade was lost to the towns to the south.
The date for the founding of Villa Grove is some what unclear, as is the arrival of the railroad. The railroad was extended to Alamosa in 1890. William W. Worthington arrived in Villa Grove be train in August 1885. (Source: Worthington "The Sunny San Luis Valley") Lieutenant E. H. Ruffner, of the Corp of Engineers who surveyed the valley in 1873 mentions Kerber Creek, but no stage stop, town or ranches. Why did Ruffner not mention Villa Grove? Was the stage stop built after September 27, 1873? Were there no ranch building visible? He does mention there being a good wagon road crossing Poncha Pass!
Kerber Creek has had some interesting visitors. August 25, 1779 New Mexico Governor Juan Bautista de Anza camped on Kerber Creek which he called San Gines.(Kessler pg. 11) He passed through the valley on his way to the area of present day Colorado Springs where he destroyed a Comanche village. In defeating the Comanche he stopped their raiding of the Spanish settlements of New Mexico.
Harlan, George Pastmarks and Places Adobe Village Press, Monte Vista, CO 2002.
Kessler, Ron Anza's 1779 Comanche Campaign 2nd Ed, Adobe Village Press, Monte Vista, CO 2001.