Grand Junction, Colorado
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Grand Junction Business Signs
Historically, the area where the Colorado River meets the Gunnison River was home to the Fremont people from 200 to 1300 A.D. The Fremont left, and it wasn’t until 1400 the Ute people moved in. The U.S. forced the Utes onto reservations in 1881. George Crawford, who was a politician and real estate developer from Kansas, chose this particular site within the Grand Valley for a town. The name “Grand” refers to the Grand River, which was what people called the upper Colorado River prior to 1921. “Junction” refers to the place where the Colorado and Gunnison rivers meet. Thus, the Colorado State Archives claim Grand Junction was incorporated on July 22nd, 1882. Due to Grand Junction, CO’s location at the confluence of the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers, it has often been nicknamed ‘River City.’
Today, according to a 2012 US census bureau estimate, the home rule municipality of Grand Junction, CO has a population of 59,899 people. This makes Grand Junction, CO the 15th most populous city in Colorado and the most populous city on the Colorado Western Slope [Western Colorado]. The Grand Junction Metropolitan Statistical Area, according to that same 2012 estimate, has a population of 147,083 people.
The city of Grand Junction’s 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report states the largest employer in the area to be Mesa County Valley School District 51, which is responsible for 2,554 jobs. City Market comes in at a far second, employing 1,656 people.
In 2008, The Denver Business Journal claimed Grand Junction, CO was attracting many of the nation’s elite business and leisure travelers. This influx of tourism to the Grand Valley area was largely seen as a product of the nearby Powderhorn Resort. The Powderhorn Mountain Resort is a skiing destination with a top elevation of 9,850 feet (3,000 m) featuring 63 runs in total.
Grand Junction, CO also serves as the main campus for Colorado Mesa University, which was established in 1925 as Grand Junction Junior College. This public comprehensive university has a $19.2 million endowment with 11,00 students in total.
The city is also home to the Grand Junction Regional Airport (which was formerly known as Walker Field Airport). It is the major airport for the Grand Valley area. Two-way flights to Denver, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Dallas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Houston are available at this airport.
As for sports, Grand Junction, CO is home to one professional and one semi-professional team. The semi-professional Grand Junction Gladiators, who play football in the ADFL, were the 2012, 2013, and 2014 league champions – and the runners up in 2015. Baseball’s Pioneer League has had a team in Grand Junction, CO since 1978. The Grand Junction Rockies, a major league affiliate of MLB’s Colorado Rockies, have one league title to their names. The Grand Junction Rockies play their home games at Suplizio Field.
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