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Irrigation water is the lifeblood of the Grand Valley. Without it, our area would have remained a desert, and we would never have seen the agricultural bounty we enjoy today. In this special presentation presenter Gary Hines shares vintage photographs and maps highlighting the hardships, failures, and ultimate successes early settlers encountered in developing irrigation systems that now deliver a consistent supply of vital irrigation water.
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Professor Don Mackendrick talks about the history of irrigation and the development of water resources in Mesa County, Colorado from the 1880's until the construction of the Highline Canal in 1915 (during a program of the Mesa County Historical Society in July 1980). This recording is made available via signed release by the Mesa County Oral History Project, a collaboration of Mesa County Libraries and the Museums of Western Colorado.
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Early Mesa County resident Virgil Hickman discusses farm life in Palisade and East Orchard Mesa, including irrigation ditches and dams, water rights of farmers and ranchers, hunting deer during the Great Depression, the methods used in keeping peach orchards bug-free, weekly band concerts, making apple butter, and the Palisade Peach Festival. He also talks about building Skyway Road on the Grand Mesa with picks, blasting powder and horses. This recording...
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Edithe Pryor discusses her upbringing on a farm in Palisade, Colorado in the early Twentieth century as the daughter of a Welsh immigrant father, and the agricultural history of Palisade, Clifton and the east end of the Grand Valley. She also talks about irrigating land, her mother’s homemaking and recipes for apple deserts, using an old wood-fired cook stove, and getting drinking water from an irrigation ditch. The interview was conducted by the...
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William Lorenzen, the owner and editor of the Palisade Tribune newspaper from 1953 to 1979, talks about the history of the newspaper, beginning with the publishers that came before him. He speaks about the difference between linotype or “hot printing,” offset printing, and handset printing. He describes the newspaper’s relationship with the townspeople of Palisade over time, and the paper’s role in preserving and contributing to Palisade’s...
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Daily Sentinel writer William “Bill” Nelson talks about the history of the Grand Valley irrigation system during the early days of Mesa County. Nelson describes how water projects were developed, how water is doled out to people in the area, and specific water rights. He also discusses his family life, community activism, his father’s failing businesses during the Great Depression, and experiencing surgery on his retina. The interview was conducted...
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Tom and Marie Biglin talk about their lives in the Nucla, Colorado area, about his career in ranching, and about her career as the office manager for the Nucla Regional Office of the Rural Electrification Administration. They also touch on his service as an ambulance driver during World War I, the development of irrigation in Nucla, and other tidbits of local history. The interview was conducted by the Mesa County Oral History Project, a collaboration...
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Arvid Muhr talks about his family of Swedish Immigrants, about peach farming on East Orchard Mesa in Mesa County, and about the development of irrigation water in the Grand Valley. Mr. Muhr also discusses the Teller Institute baseball team, made up of American Indians that attended the school, and about working on a hydroelectric dam near Palisade. The interview was conducted by the Mesa County Oral History Project, a collaboration of Mesa County...
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In a letter read aloud to his niece, Marion Echternach talks about the history of his immigrant family in the United States, including their settlement in Oklahoma in 1880. He speaks about his boyhood in Peckham, Oklahoma. He discusses the “land boom” in Palisade, Colorado at the beginning of the Twentieth century and his family’s role in settling the area. He remembers visiting his brother Bill, an employee at the Liberty Bell Mine near Telluride....
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Ann Stokes talks about homesteading on East Orchard Mesa after her family moved to Mesa County, Colorado in 1904. She remembers her father working on the “fancy” masonry for the Grand Junction train station. She recalls living in a one-room log cabin and sharing that cabin with a horse for an evening. She speaks about the development of irrigation on East Orchard Mesa and her father’s peach orchard. She describes walking with her siblings four...
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Helen and Marion Bowman discuss Marion Bowman’s father, George Bowman, founder of Palisade National Bank, United Fruit Growers Association, and the inventor of the Bowman picking sack. They also discuss the history of fruit growing in Palisade, Colorado. The interview was conducted by the Mesa County Oral History Project, a collaboration of Mesa County Libraries, the Museums of Western Colorado, and the Mesa County Historical Society.
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Arthur Tufly talks about his school years in Appleton, Colorado, his life as a farmer, and the sugar beet industry. The interview was conducted by the Mesa County Oral History Project, a collaboration of Mesa County Libraries, the Museums of Western Colorado and the Mesa County Historical Society.
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Leon Reed talks about the Grand Mesa, its reservoirs, the history of water development on the Mesa and in Delta County, Colorado, and his father's role in that development. This recording is made available via signed release by the Mesa County Oral History Project, a collaboration of Mesa County Libraries and the Museums of Western Colorado.
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In an interview recorded November 8, 1977, Fred Ames and his wife Emma Lillian (Stocks) Ames discuss the history of Sinbad Valley and its settlement by his family and others. In second and third interviews recorded on November 15 and December 3, 1977 (transcript only*), Fred Ames talks about the McCarty Gang, their stomping grounds in Sinbad Valley and nearby Eastern Utah, and about meeting Tom McCarty as a child. He discusses homesteading and...
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Levi Clark discusses the history and agriculture of Palisade, Colorado. The interview was conducted by the Mesa County Oral History Project, a collaboration of Mesa County Libraries and the Museums of Western Colorado. *Photograph from the 1909 Palisade High School yearbook.
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Emma Nagel discusses her family’s dairy business in rural Mesa County, Colorado, the butter making process, storing and selling butter, and changes brought to the home-butter business after the establishment of a local creamery. She also talks about participating in Mesa County Fairs, family activities, homemaking with her mother, an icehouse her father constructed, home luncheon visits, Fruita events, people and history, and her father’s job...
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Bunk Weimer recalls settling on land at the current location of Colorado Mesa University as a child in 1903, where the boys slept in a cave and the rest of the family in tents before the land was leveled for farming. He talks about helping with the construction of the first Mesa County Fairgrounds (on the site of the present day Lincoln Park), including the Lincoln Park Barn. He discusses helping his father pour foundations for several prominent buildings...
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To mark the centennial celebration of the town of Grand Junction, Colorado in 1981, the Mesa County Oral History Project wrote and recorded several radio plays about local history. Beginning on September 26, 1981, local radio stations KSTR, KREX-AM, KREX-FM, and KMSA broadcast the plays. Authors of the plays used interviews recorded by the Mesa County Oral History Project as inspiration. This archival recording contains the play A Natural Resource:...
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Early Mesa County resident Fred Hulburt discusses his job as a postman, the difficulties of starting a fruit farming business, his views on the treatment of the Utes in the area, building tunnels for the Highline Canal above Cameo, methods used to prevent the codling moth from ruining fruit orchards, and how to properly break wild horses and mules. This recording is made available via signed release by the Mesa County Oral History Project, a collaboration...
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Four radio programs written by Wilson Rockwell, based in part on short histories he wrote for his book Sunset Slope, and broadcast in the Grand Junction area on KREX in the late 1950’s or early 1960’s. The programs include: Episode 29 – The Death of Chief Ouray (0:00), Episode 30 – The Last Days of Chipeta (14:57), Episode 31 – Conquest of the Black Canyon (29:15), Episode 32 – The Ute Indian Legends (42:03). These broadcasts are made...