Priscilla Mangnall

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December 6, 2012
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THE WAY WE WERE: What's up with Fruitvale?

Fruitvale - unless you live there, it has always been an elusive part of the Grand Valley, officially taking up residence between 28 Road on the west, 32 Road on the east and lying between the 1-70 Business Loop proper.

It was named Fruitvale because it was a shipping point for the fruit growers in that area. Loading docks and packing sheds lined the tracks. Same as Clifton.

Fruitvale is actually a Census-designated area meaning that during the last Census in 2010, all the people living in the Fruitvale area amounted to about 8,000 people. They've had a post office for sometime now but its 81504 zip code is under the Grand Junction Post Office jurisdiction, if that's what you call it. Between 1948 and 1950 it had its own post office with its own cancellation stamp.

Once upon a time, before the Grand Valley became one big town from Palisade to Fruita, Fruitvale was its own little community.

Fruitvale. It's a nice sounding town. Lovely in fact and much more pleasing than Grand Junction, Clifton or Fruita, but it just didn't really stick, and its center, basically at 30 and the end of North Avenue which was at one time US Hwy. 24, never had a Main Street to call its own.

Johnson's Corner at 30 and F Road was its northern anchor. There you could find a glorious fruit stand that sat on the northeast corner. All that's left is a small white house that looks destined for demolition. It just sold and trees are being hacked down.

Across 30 Road to the west was Sander's Second Hand Store and it was still a second hand store up to the time they tore it down for the Rite Aid drug store. Guess that was a good trade. Going back a few decades, I remember a cluster of odd-looking building to its north. They were the Sander's Apartments, both being owned by William and Ella Sanders.

Ahh, but that wonderful fruit stand. They also sold smokes and cokes and candy. Did it have a real name? I can't recall. Maybe someone will remind me. It wasn't that long ago that it was still there, maybe the 1970s.

At the end of North Avenue there were a lot of Fruitvale businesses. Fruitvale Feed and Farm Supply, Fruitvale Garage, Fruitvale Store, Fruitvale Service Station and one that I remember well was the Freeway Auction House where I bought one too many "top of the cart miscellaneous" boxes. I remember in the 1960s when there was a teenage hangout somewhere around there. Seems it was in the Auction House building. Across 30 Road sat the Thriftway Market and Clara's Coffee Cup. I loved Clara's old coffee cup neon sign. I hope it went to a good home.

Palace of Fruits was another end of North Avenue memory for me. I'd go there with my dad to get fruits and vegetables and a pop or two on our way out of town; he'd stop there before heading up to Grand Mesa to fish. They sold tackle, too.

Fruitvale once had a high school. I've seen yearbooks but not much else. I need to do a little more research to find a photo of the old school and when I find it I'll share it with you. Let's talk Fruitvale.

Give me a call at 970-260-5226, or email

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The Post Independent Updated Dec 6, 2012 07:52PM Published Dec 6, 2012 04:36PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.