Priscilla MangnallTHE WAY WE WEREGrand Junction Free Press History Columnist

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December 20, 2012
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THE WAY WE WERE: Finishing the book on Fruitvale

Since my last column about the Fruitvale School, I've received many reminisces from my readers.Angelo Colunga passed on some writings by Frank M. Jaquette in 1996 with the help of Francis Collins and John Schoening. Shirley Gore sent me a photo of the Fruitvale School with some notes about a store across from the school owned by Gene Treichler and Paul Mellinger possibly called the Fruitvale School Market. John Hocker told me about a favorite teacher from Fruitvale High who was drafted into the Army in 1943 - 2nd Lt. Herman M. Fresques was killed in action in France. But perhaps the most definitive account comes from John Krizman, with a few notes in parenthesis by me. "A Journey through Fruitvale on Highway 6 & 24" by John Krizman:These are my recollections of Fruitvale Corner in the 1930s and '40s. I had a paper route as a young boy, riding my bike 13 miles on gravel roads all over Fruitvale. Fruitvale encompassed 28 Road west to 31 1/2 Road east and to the Bookcliffs north and south to the Colorado River. The mail was delivered via Rural Route 1. They didn't use house numbers because there were so few of them. Traveling west on 6 & 24, also known as F Road or Patterson, you passed the W. A. Long property which had peaches, hay, corn and other produce and housed a fruit stand made of logs just like his house. This property went to his son, William Jr., who was a graduate of Fruitvale High School. William Jr. donated this property to Mesa County with the stipulation that it be developed as a park. It's now The Long Family Memorial Park. Cross Orchards was a large apple and pear orchard in the '20s and '30s. Their fruit trees became infested with coddling moths and because of the financial loss they sold off parcels of land and eventually sold it all. At one time Earl Antis owned the piece of property that the museum sits on and is now known as Cross Orchards Living History Museum. The original large two-story Cross family home is no longer there.Continuing on west, on the north side of F Road you would come upon McFarland's Blacksmith Shop which was a large arched building and then Carpenter's Grocery store owned by Clyde and Helen Carpenter. A liquor store is there now. (Jack and Lena Mae Scott told me this was the Highlands Park Grocery, maybe at another time.) On the south side was a row of sweet cherries owned by Anton and Mary Selan. When the cherries were ripe, there was many a midnight raid for the fruit. The Selan Boys would take a mattress out and sleep with a shotgun to deter cherry snackers! Anton and Mary also grew peaches, pears, apples, strawberries and rhubarb and had a fruit stand.At F and 30 Road was Johnson's Corner named after Gus Johnson, a Mesa County commissioner, who lived on the southeast corner; the house is still there. On the northeast corner was Davis Fruit Stand, owned by Toots and Rena Davis. The original house is still there. On the northwest corner was Sanders Secondhand Store. Rite Aid is there now. On the southwest corner was the Wm. Broderson property. The church sits where the family home was and Fruitvale Elementary sits in the middle of the land they farmed. Their youngest son, Dr. Warren Broderson, played basketball at Fruitvale High School in the '40s.Where E 1/2 Road now intersects 30 Road on the south side was part of the Krizman property, where I was born 84 years ago on Jan. 2nd. My dad purchased this property after emigrating from Austria. Crossing the Grand Valley Canal on the southwest corner was the Ray Collins property that also had a fruit stand. The big house is still standing there. He had two large fruit cellars and a very large cider press behind the house. Years later under new owners, New Year's Eve parties were housed in the cellars. (Lena Mae Collins and her three sisters grew up in that house.)Fruitvale Corner was at 30 Road and North Avenue or Hwy 6 & 24. Cloy (C. R.) Brown owned land on the east and south side of 6 & 24. On the northeast corner he built a gas station with two gravity flow pumps that you had to pump the gas out by hand. They had the big glass cylinders where you could read how much gas you had pumped. A guy by the name of Roy ran the station. First, it was a Coop station; then later a Sinclair Station. In the late 1940s, Wayne Hoover took over the station. When his brother, Melvin, graduated and went to work there, the name was changed to Hoover Brothers Filling Station.On the southeast corner was Schoening Platform, packing shed. In the early years they packed pears, apples and then green tomatoes. The last use was when Fred Selan packed sweet cherries. On the west end of the packing shed was a little grocery store that didn't last long as the big grocery stores came in to town. This shed had a large scale to weigh produce. When you purchased items from a farmer, you took the product to the weigh station, weighed it, figured out what you owed and left the money there for the farmer to pick up later. It was an honor system. The old Gators is where the grocery store used to stand. The southwest corner was also C.R. Brown's property. He had a grocery store with a gas hand pump. Later, it became Williams Market with a small soda shop. It became Huckaby's, then Hayden Brothers Market, and then it closed down. The old wooden market was eventually torn down. The new building was used for many businesses and is now Jerry's Outdoor Sports.There were also some small buildings which housed a one-chair barber shop, which later became Clara's Coffee shop, and some more of C. R. Brown's operations and home. It is now gone due to the continued growth. The dance hall/bar on the south side of the highway was originally a roller skating rink then a dance hall where they held dance marathons. (According to the Scotts, it may have been called the Green Lantern.) The marathons were really something to see. One of them went for 36 hours. It was vacant for a while then it became Oliver's Feed Store as more cattle were brought into the valley. It was an auction house then The San Antonio Rose with the original hardwood floors. (Ray Collins laid the floor.)On the northwest side of Fruitvale Corner was a garage and Collins Salvage Yard, which disappeared with the road expansion. Fruitvale corner continued west on what is now North Avenue. There was the Schindel's Palace of Fruits. At the corner of 29 Road and 6 & 24, there was a small grocery store, Bamford's Barber Shop and Cooper's Texaco Station. Ludlum's Garage was on the north side of North Avenue just past the Palace of Fruits. (The Scotts also remembered some dirt tennis courts that were located where Memorial Gardens is now.)Fiegel's New and Used Farm Machinery was where Texas Roadhouse is and the Rocket Drive-In Theater came in during the '50s. Criders Doughnuts lasted a few years. The Fruitvale School, grades 1-12, was at 29 and North. Further west was the Chief Drive-In Theater. The Files brothers' Star-Lite Drive-In was were Teller Arms is now. It was the first drive-in and shut down when the two new ones came to town. The Files also had a stock car racing track and built the first Little League baseball field in town. Thank you everyone for helping us remember Fruitvale. I think I could write a book about Fruitvale. Heck fire, I think I just did!Reach Priscilla at 970-260-5226, or email priscilla.mangnall@gmail.com.


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The Post Independent Updated Dec 20, 2012 01:35PM Published Dec 20, 2012 01:33PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.