By Denise & Steve Hight
Local businesses and organizations have used images of Colorado National Monument in their marketing and promotions ever since the Monument was established in 1911. Quite a few local businesses have the word Monument in their name, and others feature backdrops of the Monument in their advertising and on business cards.
Before the Redlands area of Grand Junction was filled with houses, much of the land was covered with peach trees. The peaches that were sold to other communities were shipped in wooden crates with paper labels affixed to the side. Peaches from the Redlands were shipped under the Monument brand. The vibrant labels stated that the peaches were grown on Redlands Mesa, in “the Garden of the Rockies.”
The Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce sent out stickers to its members so they could display them on their shop windows or vehicles. In addition to both featuring drawings of Independence Monument, the earlier of the two shown here refers to “the famous Rimrock motor drive in the Colorado National Monument,” while the later one describes the area as “the Garden of the Rockies.”
In Fruita, the Osborn Bean and Elevator Company packed their Monument Brand Recleaned Pinto Beans in a lively burlap bag depicting Independence Monument. The company was founded around 1940 by Max Osborn, whose father, Carl, was the proprietor of Osborn Hardware in Fruita, itself split from an earlier business Carl co-owned and co-founded, the Fruita Mercantile. In 1892, Max’s grandfather, Jesse, also founded an important early Fruita business, J.W. Osborn Groceries and Meats.
In 1961, the Fruita State Bank celebrated the 50th anniversary of Colorado National Monument by giving their customers ceramic salt and pepper shakers in the shape of Independence Monument. The bank opened in 1946 in what is today known as the Mid-Valley Building, at the corner of North Park Square and East Aspen Avenue. The building itself, built around 1900, had been remodeled extensively in 1912 to become the new home of a different bank, the First National Bank of Fruita.
This colorful transferware plate made for the Fruita Centennial in 1984 features Independence Monument and the motto “Gateway to Colorado National Monument.” The reverse side of the plate bears a short statement regarding Fruita’s founding on July 23, 1884, but in an unfortunate typo gives the year as 1984. Still, the plate rightly celebrates the importance of Colorado National Monument to Fruita and its history.