The Last Chance Mine

In the 1890’s there were several copper mines operating in southwestern Colorado. Some of the abandoned mines are located within easy driving distance from Grand Junction. The Last Chance Mine was one of those sites. The operation was an example of hard rock mining, which is the process of extracting hard minerals like copper, zinc, […]

My Favorite Childhood Librarian: Days at the Clifton Library

Clifton was an interesting place when I was a kid. In the late 1970’s and throughout the 1980’s, my neighborhood around 32 1/8th Road and others in the area had many abandoned houses with overgrown weeds, broken fences, and other features that might capture a child’s imagination. Who left that gate open? What’s inside the […]

Mining History in Mesa County

Agriculture was the original economic backbone in Grand Junction but the discovery of mineral resources in the area would quickly make an impact. Deposits of coal, copper, radium, vanadium, and uranium were discovered and mined for decades in the region. In 1888 commercial coal mining began and numerous coal mines were in operation in the […]

Where Are The Ladies? The Lonely Men of Grand Junction in 1883

It seems not many women lived in Grand Junction in its earliest years. In 1882 and 1883, women were scarce enough that the Grand Junction News often remarked when the wife of a man joined him here in town. The News also occasionally noted when a single woman passed through, as it did with Miss […]

Building a Town: Grand Junction’s Construction

    Settlers in Grand Junction faced obstacles in building their town. Among these impediments was a lack of building materials. While the nearby Uncompahgre Plateau and the Grand Mesa might provide timber supplies, these sources were relatively distant in the days before automobiles, and before roads were built that enabled people to get from there […]

Grand Valley Orchards in the 19th Century

Western Colorado is known for fruit production, especially in the area of Palisade. In the past there were a variety of orchards spread throughout our region. Once the land was irrigated agriculture picked up quickly and by 1892 there were quite a few fruit growers in the valley. Peach, apricot, apple, and cherry trees were plentiful […]

The Uintah Railway

In the late 1890’s and early 1900’s mining was an important part of the economy of the western United States. Several coal mines operated in the Grand Valley and western Colorado’s role in the mining industry was just beginning to emerge. During this time in Eastern Utah a rare mineral called Gilsonite was being mined. […]

Crime in Early Grand Junction

    No one will accuse early Grand Junction of being Tombstone or Dodge City, but early issues of the Grand Junction News reveal that the Grand Valley had its share of Old West crime. On November 25, 1882, the News reported that William Wencel of Grand Junction was robbed and shot to death in […]

The Taylor Quarry

The Gateway area is home to a variety of historical and archaeological sites. If you travel through the region you’ll probably notice a variety of structures related to mining, ranching, and homesteading. Divide Road will take you up above Unaweep Canyon and through the Uncompahgre National Forest. If you look off to the side of Divide […]

Before the Grand Mesa National Forest Existed

Many residents of western Colorado recognize the Grand Mesa as one of the dominant landmarks in the Grand Valley.  It rises to over 10,000 feet in elevation and contributes to the overall beauty of our region. The Grand Mesa National Forest was established on March, 11 1924 but it didn’t always go by that name. In […]