120 years: 1986

Tragedy marks the beginning of the year as the space shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after launch in late January. All seven astronauts aboard perish in the worst disaster in history for the U.S. space program.

With the possibility of an additional 300 to 500 new jobs in Mesa County, residents welcome Sundstrand Aviation to Grand Junction in 1986. The move comes with help from the Grand Junction Economic Development Council.

Mesa College athletes have to keep it clean as random drug testing begins. Dale Reece buys Crossroads Nautilus near Horizon Drive and re-opens it as Crossroads Fitness Center.

“The Oprah Winfrey Show” makes its television debut, and Geraldo Rivera opens Al Capone’s secret vault to find only a bottle of vintage moonshine.

While Greg LeMond wins the Tour de France, a mishandled safety test kills more than 4,000 people at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Soviet Union.

The Statue of Liberty gets a makeover and celebrates her 100th birthday in New York Harbor.

To view an ongoing photo gallery of The Daily Sentinel’s 120 years project, go to GJSentinel.com.


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