Priscilla Mangnall
Grand Junction Free Press History Columnist

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November 17, 2011
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PRISCILLA'S COLUMN: 118 years ago today (give or take a few days)

I've always liked the articles that were 100 years ago today or 50 years ago today but haven't seen one for Grand Junction in some time. I thought I'd make my own just to see what it was like. I thought I'd start from the earliest newspapers I could find which turned out to be Nov. 20, 1893. Close enough.


Silver was demonetized in 1893 so Colorado and the entire nation was dipping into a depression. On the upside, women were given the right to vote.

In Grand Junction, merchant C.P. Bliss was working hard to get his business established in the new frontier town. He promised he had nothing he wouldn't sell, would treat you the best and honestly. He was the leader of low prices.

Back in those days, the undertaker was usually a furniture dealer on the side, and M.O. Whitehead was ready to sell you a sideboard declaring "Now is Your Time" - for the sideboard that is.

Farmers and ranchers were hoping their land prices would go up as natural gas is being explored by the Western Colorado Development Company. Hoping oil will follow the gas discoveries, they're expecting to get rich. Some things never change.

The New York Store was willing to surrender profits to move its stock. Ladies could buy a pair of fine shoes for $4.50. Kentucky Jean Pants were popular at $3.50.

The Keeley Institute was opened by M.O. Delaplain and was recruiting candidates for treatment for the cure of liquor, opium, and morphine tobacco and cigarette habits.

Most businesses didn't need to list the addresses of their establishment; the town was small enough that everyone knew where everything was. The Star Bakery was between Second and Third on Main. You could likely smell your way there even over the mud, coal smoke, and horse manure in the streets.

The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad was offering scenic excursions all over the West. Grand Junction was a railroad town and many workers were jumping on the matrimony train and settling down.


Water was flowing all over the valley and fruit was king, except for the poorly apple trees that had to be cut down because of the coddling moth. The Grand Junction Lions Club was being formed and the Grand River was renamed the Colorado.

Prohibition was in full swing and the courts were busy with cases involving the sale and keeping of liquor. Bootlegging was starting to be a problem that would last another 20 years.

William Moyer was having a big sale over at The Fair Store. All trimmed hats were being sold at half-price to make way for holiday merchandise. Ladies coats were selling from $15-$35. Not much different from Walmart's prices today. Bet they were made in America back then.

Pink-eye was making its rounds with the children and many were out of school because of it. In Fruita, a box social was held to raise funds to buy the school a Victrola.

Local livestock men were being given a break on their grazing fees in the national forests to bolster up the industry during these difficult times.

A reward was being offered for the return of a boy's bicycle that had been stolen from in front of The Cafeteria. The bike had new mud guards, new rubber pedals, one red tire and one gray tire. There were no grips on the handle bars but they were covered in tape. The bicycle had two dents on the main part of the frame.

D.D. Delp whose address was the State Home was looking to sell three pigs that weighed 50 pounds for $15. He also wanted to sell a kid pony for $10 or trade it for a bicycle.

The Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce increased its numbers from 205 to 390 members after a "Clean Up" Squad canvassed the city for a membership drive.


The Korean War begins and the new St. Mary's Hospital at Seventh and Patterson is dedicated. A million-and-a-half bushels of peaches are packed in Palisade and Grand Junction is the first city to fluoridate its water.

Grand Junction's Community Chest, located at the Chamber of Commerce, had raised 74% of its $48,000 goal.

Ed Eisenhauer Motor Co. at 749 Main St. was looking forward to selling a lot of 1952 Dodges and he indicated that business in 1951 was up 13% in Grand Junction. If a used car was what you were looking for, Grand Valley Motors at 530 Colorado had a good 1949 Ford for $1,025.

A single family home at 1705 Chipeta Ave. with six rooms was being built with a value of $12,000.

The Blue Crane Restaurant was offering Sunday dinner consisting of baked ham, sweet potatoes, sliced pineapple salad, rolls and coffee for just $1. Sorry, no liquor served.

The 62nd Fireman's Ball was being advertised to be held at the Lincoln Park Auditorium. Just $1.25 per couple (tax included) with Gene Welch's Orchestra playing and favors for everyone.

You could see Gregory Peck and Susan Hayward in "Bathsheba" that night, in Technicolor no less.


This one is fun because it was the fall after I graduated high school and my memory was still intact.

Grand Junction Junior High School closed and East and West middle schools were opened.

Fruita Monument had its first graduating class and the Lincoln Park Barn was saved from demolition by a citizen's committee.

Green Belt, the precursor to the Riverfront Commission, was formed and the Oil Shale Regional Planning Commission was established.

One-hundred twenty-eight light bulbs were unscrewed at Stocker Stadium just before the big game by an unknown prankster.

A three-bedroom house on Texas Avenue with full basement and a garage could be rented for $145 furnished or $135 unfurnished.

Artist William Paul Johnson and his wife, Glenna Johnson, legally changed their name to Pletka.

Nude Pantyhose was available at Kauffman's Department Store, 412 Main St., for just $1.25. While at the Beefeaters Restaurant at Second and Colorado you could get Prime Rib and Lobster Tail for $6.75 on Saturday night.

Offensive line coach Jerry Smith replaced Lou Saban as the Denver Bronco's head coach.

If you put $5 in your savings account at Valley Federal Savings and Loan, you could get a Powderhorn lift ticket for just $1.

Ralph Henry's mother Alice died at the age of 93. Ralph's father had passed in 1912. They lived at 625 N. Seventh St.

That's the way it was on this day a few years back. The more things change, the more they stay the same. They just look different.


Source: The Daily Sentinel, Grand Junction News

Reach Priscilla at 970-260-5226, or email

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The Post Independent Updated Nov 17, 2011 10:51PM Published Nov 17, 2011 10:49PM Copyright 2011 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.