Snapshots of Grand Junction history on display in Arcadia book series
History books sometimes can be, well, history books.
But when those books are about something you know, they can have a little more meaning.
Take Arcadia Publishing Co.‘s “Images of America” series.
The South Carolina-based company is known for the books it publishes on local history. Not world history or U.S. history per se, but uber-local history.
That series came out with two more installments in early May that local history buffs might find worthwhile.
“Grand Junction” and “The Uncompahgre Valley” are two books that offer a history of this part of the Western Slope from the original Ute tribes that roamed these lands to the modern-day towns that exist here now.
That history is offered in snapshots, literally. They tell the region’s story through a series of old photos.
In “Grand Junction,” author Alan J. Kania compiled photos from several sources, including the Mesa County Genealogy Society, the Mesa County Historical Society and Mesa State College.
“The Uncompahgre Valley” was complied by former Delta resident Theajo Davis and Royal C. Huff Sr.
Chapter One of “Grand Junction” starts with how the native Ute tribe that frequented the region, the Tabeguache, were forced from the region to make way for white settlers hungry for free land.
Though the book makes little note of Ute uprisings in protest of the federal government’s forced relocation to reservations in Utah that was prompted by the death of an Indian agent’s family, it does include a picture of early white settlers around the “Ute Prisoner Surrender Tree,” where some of them turned themselves in.
The book goes on to show how a city sprang from the desert, started in part by George A. Crawford, founder of the Grand Junction Town Company in the early 1880s.
In a newspaper advertisement offering 4,000 lots for sale, Crawford describes “The Future Metropolis of Western Colorado” at the confluence of the Gunnison and Grand rivers, which later was renamed the Colorado River.
The ad goes on to describe the region as “unsurpassed as a FARM and FRUIT REGION. Climate unrivaled in Colorado! No snow, scarcely any Winter.”
Like the Uncompahgre book does for towns south of here, it shows how Grand Junction started with a few structures, including a saloon, of course, but quickly grew into a vibrant town in just a few short years.
Kania also published “Colorado National Monument” with Arcadia and “John Otto: Trials and Trails” by the University Press of Colorado.