Fruita Bridge

Year Listed: 2002
County: Mesa County
Construction Date: 1907
Threat When Listed: Natural Elements, Vandalism
Status: IN PROGRESS
 
 

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the bridge was completed in 1907, and is one of the few remaining spans associated with noted bridge engineer M.J. Patterson. This steel and wood, three-span bridge served for years as a regionally important early roadway used to cross the Colorado River.

The City of Fruita completed an assessment as a first step toward building local support to stabilize and rehabilitate the bridge for bike/pedestrian use along a river trail that would stretch from Fruita to Grand Junction. The National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program began a river trail planning project in 2005 that will incorporate the bridge. Due to erosion of an island in the river, waterflow seriously damaged one of the bridge’s piers. Experts fear a high spring runoff may cause the bridge to collapse. Colorado Preservation, Inc. and others are working to put together a plan and funding to provide emergency stabilization.

In 2007, the City of Fruita applied for and was awarded a $200,000 grant from the State Historical Fund to stabilize the bridge piers.  Along with an additional $250,000 from the City of Fruita, Mesa County, and local fundraising efforts, caissons were built to stabilize the bridge piers and this work was completed in early 2010.  A Parks, Open Space, and Trails Master Plan adopted by the City of Fruita in 2009 shows that the bridge still is intended to be an important link in a regional trail system linking Fruita to Grand Junction, the Colorado National Monument, and other trails on public lands.  Although no progress has been made to create trail linkages to the bridge at this time, the bridge is safe from imminent danger of loss due to neglect or lack of awareness by the community.

Additional Links:
City of Fruita, CO

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Featured Project

4 Bar 4 Ranch

Homesteaded in 1895 by Dick McQueary to provide a stop for the Georgetown Stage Line, the 320-acre 4 Bar 4 Ranch has strong ties to Grand County and Colorado's heritage. The Georgetown Stage Line traveled on the road through the 4 Bar 4 Ranch from Idaho Springs to Hot Sulphur Springs over Berthoud Pass. In 1895 a roadhouse and stage stop were constructed on the ranch. The hotel and barn were constructed using trees from the Ranch property, and the hotel remained open for travelers coming over Berthoud Pass by horseback and wagon until 1913. With the coming of the automobile, the roadway over Berthoud Pass and through the 4 Bar 4 Ranch was considered an integral part of the Trans-Continental “Midland Trail” highway. Following the closing of the stage line, the ranch continued to host travelers until 1912 or 1913 when it was purchased and converted into a Ford Motor Company . Ford vehicles were sold here until 1917, when Harry Larkin purchased the ranch site. Today emergency efforts are underway to ensure it survives through the winter. Donations are in need. To learn more, contact Jennifer Orrigo Charles at jorrigocharlges@coloradopreservation.org.

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