In 1776 the year of our independence, a family was led by two Catholic priests, father Dominguez and Escalante. They camped in a meadow on the Dolores River which in 105 years became the town of Big Bend.Big Bend had several saloons, a saw mill, a hotel, twogeneral merchants, a meat company and the Office ofLand. Big Bend was abandoned in 1891, when the narrowgauge railroad reached the area.
In 1926 the logging town of McPhee was established. It was abandoned in 1948, when a major fire destroyed the entire mill. The town was situated 11 miles south of Dolores, where the present McPhee Dam is located. Of the three settlements, Dolores is the only one left.