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A grand river, whatever its name

From its headwaters in Rocky Mountain National Park, the Colorado River has carved its way through geologic time to the sea. The slow abrasion by water, silt, sand and stone has created the river’s chiseled course – a path 1,400 miles long descending 14,000 feet from its origins.The rugged Colorado River has influenced the settlement of man – both Native American and white – and dictated how its precious waters would be distributed for use across the West.The Colorado River flows past Glenwood Springs. However, the river was not always known by that name. Francis M. Case’s 1862 Colorado Territory map named the river “Grand,” and this was how the river would be identified well into 20th century. As white settlers moved into the area, the Grand River lent its name to manmade places. Grand Avenue. Grand Valley. Grand Junction. All took their inspiration from the river.In 1907, Colorado State Sen. Edward T. Taylor from Glenwood Springs started a movement to rename the Grand River. Taylor, an expert in Colorado water rights, saw the Grand River not as a tributary to the Colorado River, but as the Colorado River itself. The Colorado General Assembly on March 24, 1921, approved legislation that changed the name of the Grand River to the Colorado River. Simultaneously, Edward T. Taylor, now a U.S. representative, successfully sponsored federal legislation authorizing the name change. On July 25, 1921, Congress approved the legislation.The river’s renaming set the stage for the signing of the Colorado River Compact, an agreement which continues to divide and appropriate Colorado River water to seven western states.Population growth has placed a heavy burden upon the Colorado River’s waters. However, despite the demand, this grand river continues its scouring march to the sea.”Frontier Diary” is provided to the Glenwood Springs Post Independent by the Frontier Historical Society and Museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Winter hours are 1-4 p.m. Monday and Thursday through Saturday.”Frontier Diary” is provided to the Glenwood Springs Post Independent by the Frontier Historical Society and Museum, 1001 Colorado Ave., Glenwood Springs. Winter hours are 1-4 p.m. Monday and Thursday through Saturday.


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