The town of Fruita, Colorado is a small town located just west of Grand Junction with a lot of history.

History of Fruita Colorado: The 1800s

Get our free mobile app

The area that we now know as Fruita, Colorado was first inhabited by dinosaurs, followed by Ute Native Americans, and was first settled by homesteaders Albert Lapham and his wife in 1882. Fruita first became a town in 1884 by pioneer William E. Pabor. Here are some of the most significant things that happened in Fruita's history in the 1800s:

  • 1882 – First permanent homesteaders settled Albert Lapham and his wife
  • 1883 – The first school in Fruita is built
  • 1884 – Fruita is established by William E. Pabor
  • 1884 – William E. Pabor established Fruita Town and Land Co.
  • 1887 – Fruita Central School is built

History of Fruita Colorado: 1900 through 1940

The forty years between 1900 and 1940 were full of events in the newly-formed town of Fruita, Colorado. For example, the area became a hotbed for dinosaur bones, the town began getting water and electricity, and numerous schools were built. Here are some of the most important things that happened in Fruita's history between 1900 and 1940:

  • The 1900s – Elmer Riggs began discovering dinosaur bones in Fruita
  • 1900 – Riggs finds a Brachiosaurus skeleton
  • 1901 – Riggs finds 2/3 of a Brontosaurus skeleton
  • 1905 – Fruita Union High School is built
  • 1907 – Fruita begins getting water from the Colorado River
  • 1908 – The Phillips House is built at 798 North Mesa Street
  • 1909 – The town of Fruita begins to get electricity
  • 1912 – Central Grade School is built at 325 Aspen Avenue
  • 1934 – Fruita Union High School is severely damaged by a fire
  • 1936 – Fruita Union High School was rebuilt
  • 1937 – 34 families relocated to Fruita via Grand Valley Resettlement Project
  • 1938 – Fruita Museum is built at 432 Aspen Avenue

History of Fruita Colorado: 1940 through 2000

Many significant events took place in the town of Fruita between 1940 and 2000 including the birth of the legend of Mike the Headless Chicken, the construction of the area's interstate highway, and the introduction of liquor sales in the area. Here are some of the most significant events in Fruita's history between 1940 and 2000:

  • 1945 – Mike the Headless Chicken is beheaded
  • 1947 – Mike the Headless Chicken dies
  • 1948 – Fruita Museum becomes the town library
  • 1951 – Fruita Elementary School opens
  • In the 1960s – I-70 is built through the Grand Valley
  • 1969 – Fruita Monument High School is built
  • In the 1970s – Fruita began selling liquor
  • In the 1970s and 1980s – Fruitadens fossils were found, named after Fruita
  • 1996 – Town library becomes a Fruita Area Chamber of Commerce building and is added to the National Register of Historic Places
  • 1999 – Mike the Headless Chicken Day is established

History of Fruita Colorado: 2000 to Today

Finally, numerous significant events have occurred in Fruita between the year 2000 and today including the town making history with the marijuana tax, dinosaur fossils being named after the town, and the construction of schools, a hospital, and a recreational center:

  • 2005 – Fruitafossor bones were discovered, and a second dinosaur named after Fruita
  • 2007 – Rimrock Elementary and Fruita 8/9 School open
  • 2009 – A new hospital is built in Fruita
  • 2010 – The Fruita Recreational Center is built
  • 2010 – Fruita becomes the first city in the world to enact a marijuana tax

Seven Facts You May or May Not Know About Fruita Colorado

Nestled just west of Grand Junction, Colo., rests the small town of Fruita. First settled by a couple in 1882, it's grown into one of Colorado's best tourist destinations.

See How Much Fruita's Population Has Grown Over the Years

How big is Fruita, Colorado? Here is a look at how this western Colorado has grown through the years.

Awesome Lineup for Fruita's Summer Concert Series 2022

Summer is here(almost), and with it, free weekly concerts with Fruita's Summer Concert Series 2022. Grab a lawn chair and enjoy these free concerts featuring some of Western Colorado's most popular artists.