Longtime GJ oil-gas distributor settles into historic downtown building

Paul Brown, owner of Monument Oil, shows a large built-in safe in the Colorado Avenue building into which the company has recently moved. Shelving has yet to be unpacked in some rooms of the building such as this one, and wall decor has yet to be hung.

It’s been a long circle around the Grand Valley, but Monument Oil Co. has moved back into downtown Grand Junction and the company president, Paul Brown, would like a greater presence downtown.

Monument Oil is now ensconced, appropriately enough, in what used to be a gasoline station at 560 Colorado Ave., the latest stop in a journey that last saw the company housed in what had been a convenience store and gas station at First Street and North Avenue.

“We’re just so tickled to be downtown,” Brown said, noting that his staff now has plenty of private space for bookkeeping and similar work, while the building has storage room. He also has a vacant second floor that he’s considering leasing out, possibly to other businesses, possibly as downtown living quarters.

Monument Oil’s new home is the building that was constructed in Italianate style in 1908 for Jacob Schiesswohl by Nunzio Grasso, known for his brickwork at Colorado National Monument and other Grand Valley locations, David Bailey, curator of history for the Museum of the West, said. The cost to build? “Shares of Grand Valley Irrigation Co. and a driving horse named Bud,” Bailey said.

The building became a service station in 1925 and was the first one in the region to have an indoor grease rack and car wash, Bailey said.

Since then, the building has housed a variety of oil and gasoline-related businesses, from Sinclair Oil to Phillips 66 to Union Oil and so on. The logos of many of those businesses remain to go on display in Monument’s new offices.

Monument moved in on Sept. 18.

“We’re glad to see it,” Bailey said of Monument moving into the building that was constructed by the family of his wife, Debra. “We want to see this building preserved. We wish them luck.”

It was back in the 1950s that Brown’s father and grandfather had offices at 605S. S. Sixth Street. Several moves later, Monument Oil was housed north of town with a large lot and 8,500 square feet at 703 G 1/2 Road, much of which it didn’t need. Brown sold the property to a drilling company and moved the corporate office to a former convenience store and gas station at First Street and North Avenue.

Now Monument Oil is back in downtown Grand Junction, where it started off in business, “back to its roots,” Brown said.

Gasoline retailing is still the company’s core business and is “very healthy,” Brown said. The new office also holds the company’s latest venture, Monument Clean Fuels, which is marketing compressed natural gas.

“It’s a natural resource that’s readily accessible,” Brown said, noting that natural gas has multiple advantages, such as fewer emissions and particulates, than diesel and gasoline.

With access to Interstate 70, Brown said he hopes to be positioned to provide CNG along that main corridor.

In the meantime, Brown aid he’s also interested in other opportunities near the new offices.

“I htink there’s a lot of value” in downtown Grand Junction, he said.


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