Grand Junction Colorado Historical Facts You May or May Not Know
The story of western Colorado and Grand Junction is one that is full of surprises. One of my favorite parts about reading the history of Grand Junction is that it is full of examples of people getting out and having fun.
This story includes tales of unearthing huge dinosaurs, the early days of skiing down the side of the Grand Mesa before Powderhorn, and even a time when Grand Junction was known by a different name.
A Look Back at Grand Junction Colorado Beginnings
We've had a blast crawling through the Grand Junction archives looking at some of the interesting events that happened throughout the town's history. From the incorporation of Grand Junction and some of the first vineyards in the area in the 1880s to the development of Grand Junction's airport and the hundreds of pilots who trained there before serving in WWII, ours is a fascinating tale.
Historical Facts About Grand Junction Colorado
Do you know who the man is who was given credit as being the 'Father of Grand Junction? Did you know that our city was known by a few different names before it settled on Grand Junction? Can you imagine if we kept the name 'West Denver'?
Scroll Through A Timeline of Grand Junction's History from 1882 to 2020
We'll go all the way back to the time of the Paleo, Ute, and Fremont Indians lived in Western Colorado. We'll find out more about how Grand Junction got its name, how the railroad made it possible for Mesa County to establish and grow, and a few fun and goofy facts about things that happened along the way.
Grand Junction's History Starts in 1882
Grand Junction's beginnings date back to 1882. That was the year Grand Junction was incorporated, the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad arrived on the Western Slope, and the area's first newspaper, Grand Junction News, began its publication.
Grand Junction's 'Father'
George Addison Crawford is known as the 'Father of Grand Junction'. In Kansas, he was the founder of 3 cities before relocating to Colorado. He had a hand in the founding of the city of Delta, Colorado as well. He is often referred to as 'Governor Crawford' after winning an election in Kansas that was overturned due to a technicality.
Grand Junction's First Settlers
Grand Junction was settled by Europeans who made their way west in the late 1800s to incorporate and develop land that was formerly used by Ute and Fremont Indian tribes before they moved further into Utah.
Grand Junction's First Name
During the rush to settle land in what is now known as Grand Junction, the town's first name was "West Denver."
Grand Junction: The Seat of Mesa County
Grand Junction was the county seat from the beginning thanks to the Denver and the Rio Grande Railroads arriving on the Western Slope by 1887. About this time irrigation turned the Grand Valley into a paradise.
The First School in Grand Junction
Grand Junction's first school began in a small log cabin and soon moved to the small brick building that can be seen in photographs in the Museum of the West in Grand Junction. All of the grades reported to class in this one small building.
Trains Give Grand Junction a Boost
Due to the railroads, Grand Junction became a major stop in the West as it was now home to a major division of the railroad with repair and maintenance shops for the engines of the West.
First Mesa County Fair Held in Grand Junction
The first-ever Mesa County Fair was held in 1887 at the first fairgrounds located at F Road and 7th Street. They then moved to Lincoln Park after that. The Mesa County Fair is now held at the current fairgrounds in Orchard Mesa on Highway 50. President William H Taft attended the Mesa County fair in the year 1909 and then made his way to Gunnison to dedicate the irrigation tunnel.
Grand Junction's First Fire Department
Grand Junction’s first fire department is said to have consisted of 3 people. These were all professional firefighters and they had a team of horses to pull the fire engine around town. Volunteer firefighters were available in the area as well.
Grand Juncton's Public Transportation
In 1909, the Grand Junction electric streetcar would begin a 10-year run, from 1909 to about 1928. Busses replaced the old trolley cars that once seemed brand new compared to the horse-drawn streetcars that came before.