Created By: Local Historic Preservation Board
A brief look at Fruita's history is a great introduction to a walking tour of the town's main streets.
William E. Pabor, the founder of Fruita, was a representative of Horace Greeley's Union Colony. In 1870, he scouted this area with an interest in the development of towns in the west. Years later he spoke of his dreams that came "in the spring of 1884, lying on the bare floor of a log cabin on the site of what is now the town of Fruita." For Pabor, " ... visions of the possibilities of the future swept before me ... I saw vineyards and orchards and rose-embowered cottages in which love, happiness and contentment abode ... "
Not only as a poet, but as a scientist, Pabor recognized the great promise of the Grand Valley. He wrote a 300 page volume, "Colorado As An Agricultural State," in which he spoke glowingly of the fruit growing potential of the area. On May 1, 1884 the Fruita Town and Land Company was incorporated. Pabor was so convinced orchards would flourish here that he named the town's streets after varieties of trees. In 1886, five-acre tracts including 200 fruit trees and water could be purchased for $500.
Fruits and vegetables from Fruita were of impressive size and quality, winning many awards and blue ribbons.
One year a 23 pound sugar beet won an award at the Denver Exposition, and Mable Skinner of Fruita was crowned the National Apple Queen in 1910.
Fruita launched an ambitious project in 1906 that brought water through a 23 mile pipeline from Pinon Mesa. The clear mountain water was the envy of the entire valley, and people traveled great distance just to have a drink.
In the early 1900s, when the fruit industry was at its peak, the coddling moth invaded, destroying the apple and pear orchards. Beets, tomatoes and general farming eventually replaced the fruit industry.
Fruita has had a steady growth for over a century, and descendants of many of the original pioneers still live in the area. Today, Fruita is a progressive community that appreciates its western heritage and its scenic setting at the foot of the Colorado National Monument.
This Walking Tour includes the best photos available of the town's historic structures - most of which have been home to a number of different businesses over the years. Take a step into the past; leave today behind for a moment. Imagine Fruita as it once was, in simpler - sometimes harder - times.