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About Grand Junction, Colorado
Western Colorado’s Grand Valley, was one of the last locales in the lower 48 states to be settled by pioneer European Americans. The Fremont people, a pre-Columbian archaeological culture, lived in
the valley and region (Utah and parts of Colorado, Idaho and Nevada) from AD 1 to 1200. While distinctly different, the Fremont lived here about the same time as the Ancestral Pueblo located to the south.
About 1400, the nomadic Ute people moved into and occupied mush of Utah and Colorado. They were primarily game hunters and seasonally migrated with the herds. The history of the Fremont and Utes can easily be seen in their ‘rock art’ found throughout the region.
Mexico achieved independence from Spain in 1821. After their independence, Mexico began allowing fur trappers and traders into the territory. In the early 1700s, Spanish explorers and priest sought gold and new trails to early California under Spanish rule.
Shortly after the US annexation of Texas in 1845, the Mexican-American War broke out with Mexico in 1846. The war ended with a US victory on February 2, 1848.
During the 1840s and 1850s, some famous explorers passed through the Grand Valley. They included Kit Carson, Captain John Gunnison and John Charles Fremont.
In September 1881, The US government forced the Utes out of Colorado and on to a reservation. That same month, the territory was officially opened to homesteaders, ranchers and town builders.
The founder of Grand Junction was politician, lawyer and journalist George A. Crawford from Kansas. Crawford recognized opportunity and acquired the unclaimed area of the Grand Valley for a new town. George Crawford died and is buried in Grand Junction. The town of Crawford, Colorado’s moniker, founded in 1882 and 60 miles south of Grand Junction, is Crawford’s namesake.
Grand Junction is a “place name.” It represents two natural features and a geographic location. “Grand” originated from the Grand River (historically named from 1836-1921); Grand was replaced with Colorado. “Junction” originated from the confluence of the Grand (Colorado) River and the Gunnison River. Grand Junction monikers are: “River City” and “Colorado’s Wine Country.”
Grand Junction Museums
Grand Junction has five (5) unique museums:
The John McConnell Math & Science Center of Western Colorado is dedicated to bringing math and science alive for visitors.
The Rocky Mountain Wing CAF Museum is a non-profit aviation association dedicated to Honoring American Military Aviation through Flight, Exhibit and Remembrance.
The Museum’s Cross Orchards Historic Site offers you opportunity to step back in time. Stroll their beautiful grounds and check out the historic buildings. Learn about the Grand Valley pioneers.
The Museum of the West offers a thousand years of history that can be experienced. “Ride” in a stagecoach, “fly” a 1958 Cessna from Walker Field or gaze upon an ancient cup and ladle from the Anasazi. Study Ute and Fremont Rock Art, see the real firearms that outlaws used, sit in a one-room schoolhouse, and visit the Pastime saloon to experience western Americana at its best.
Western Colorado Center for the Arts is a community arts organization dedicated to improving quality of life by promoting the enjoyment and understanding of the visual arts. Learn about related arts through studio art instruction, educational programs for children and adults, exhibitions, and the acquisition, care, and display of a permanent art collection.
Vintage Grand Junction Photos
Enjoy our selection of Books about Grand Junction!
Grand Junction Resident, Annabelle Craft Moss