Mesa Verde National Park, located in southwest Colorado, is home to some of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in the world. These ancient structures were built by the Ancestral Puebloans over 700 years ago and provide a glimpse into the lives of these ancient people.
Mesa County, Colorado, is located in the western part of the state and holds a rich and diverse history. The area has been occupied for thousands of years by various indigenous peoples, including the Ute and Fremont tribes, who left behind evidence of their presence in the form of rock art and archaeological sites.

In the 18th century, Spanish explorers and fur trappers began to venture into the Mesa County area. The Spanish influence can still be seen today in the names of many rivers and mountains in the region. However, it was not until the mid-19th century that permanent settlement began to take place. Settlers seeking land for farming and ranching were drawn to the fertile lands along the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers, which provided water for irrigation.

The discovery of gold and silver in the late 19th century played a significant role in shaping the history of Mesa County. Towns like Palisade, De Beque, and Grand Junction saw an influx of people looking to strike it rich in the mining industry. Although the mining boom eventually faded, it laid the foundation for the development of Mesa County's economy and infrastructure.

In the 20th century, agriculture became the main economic driver in Mesa County. The establishment of large-scale fruit orchards and vineyards brought prosperity to the region. Today, the county is known for its bountiful harvests of peaches, apples, and grapes, contributing to its reputation as the fruit basket of Colorado.

Overall, the history of Mesa County showcases the enduring spirit of exploration, settlement, and entrepreneurship. From the early indigenous peoples to the Spanish explorers, gold miners, and agricultural pioneers, the county's past is a testament to the resilience and determination of its residents.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Mesa County, Colorado.

  • 1883: Mesa County is established on February 14.
  • 1884: Grand Junction, the county seat, is incorporated on July 22.
  • 1889: The Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad reaches Grand Junction on October 2, boosting economic growth.
  • 1907: Construction of the historic Hotel Colorado is completed in Glenwood Springs, attracting tourists to the area.
  • 1910: The Grand Valley Irrigation Project is completed, enhancing agricultural opportunities in the county.
  • 1921: Colorado National Monument is established on May 24, preserving the unique sandstone formations.
  • 1935: The New Deal program leads to construction projects, including improvements to roads and bridges.
  • 1943: Walker Field (now Grand Junction Regional Airport) opens, improving transportation connectivity.
  • 1960s: The oil and gas industry becomes an important economic driver for Mesa County.
  • 1987: The Two Rivers Convention Center opens in Grand Junction, providing a venue for events and conferences.
  • 2000: The Colorado National Monument celebrates its 100th anniversary.