From the archive
In 1983, Mike O’Boyle walked Grand Junction’s busiest streets during the busiest times of day with a sandwich sign, trying to sell a house.
It was unorthodox, but he was willing to try anything.
Exxon had shut down its oil shale project on Black Sunday, May 2, 1982, a move that devastated Grand Junction’s economy.
“We were all desperate,” said O’Boyle, 65, earlier this week.
The Daily Sentinel reported in ‘83 on his efforts to sell the house he and his brother had built as O’Boyle & O’Boyle Inc., and then followed up with a story and this photo taken by Paul Williams in July of 1985.
The house’s original price was $195,000, O’Boyle said.
Then everything crashed. He recalled pitching the house in 1983 at $159,000, “what a steal!”
They finally sold the house in 1985 for $119,000, O’Boyle said.
“It was and still is a beautiful house with a beautiful view,” he said.
But in 1985, the question around town was “holy cow, when is this economy going to come out?” he said. “It was down and out.”
It seemed like every other house was for sale and work was difficult to come by. The Mesa View retirement community was about the only construction project around, and O’Boyle considered himself fortunate to get work there.
O’Boyle is still a carpenter — he owns Creative Carpentry — and does a lot of work with Lannie and Rund General Contractors.
“I’m proud that I made it through my life ... one job at a time. I did it. Sixty-five years old and still working,” O’Boyle said.
— Ann Wright, features editor