The relative isolation of Picuris delayed the assimilation pressures faced by other pueblos. However, a government day school, in which children learned Anglo ways and values, opened in 1899. Adults were encouraged to engage in wage work off the pueblo. Timber operations also began, damaging the fragile irrigation system. In an attempt to retain their identity, Pueblo Indians clung even more tenaciously to their heritage, which by now included elements of the once-hated Spanish culture and religion. By the 1880's, railroads had largely put an end to the traditional geographical isolation of the pueblos. Paradoxically, the U.S. decision to recognize Spanish land grants to the Pueblos denied Pueblo Indians certain rights granted under official treaties and left them particularly open to exploitation by squatters and thieves.