Thursday, June 16, 2016

Refurbished state-line marker will be placed June 25

Historic marker will find new home along I-70

Work is nearing completion on the restoration of a historical marker that was once celebrated at the state line between Colorado and Utah.

On June 25, the marker, which had become a canvas for graffiti, gunshots and other abuse, will be placed in its new home near the Colorado-Utah state line sign on the south, or eastbound, side of Interstate 70.

“I am so excited to see the restored marker back out at the state line,” said Mesa County Commissioner Scott McInnis. “It was a ceremonial state marker for decades. It’s not an exaggeration to say that over the decades, many memorable photos were taken with people standing by it, marking their entrance into both Colorado and Utah. Those memories should be preserved. Had Mesa County, along with others, not taken affirmative action, the monument would be a pile of rubble, as chunks of concrete had fallen off, and the marker's top had been obliterated by a gunshot.”

That’s why on Jan. 29, 2015, McInnis – with support from his fellow Commissioners – brought a team of county officials and road crew staff out to the marker, which stood on county right-of-way along old Hwy. 6 on the Colorado/Utah state line.

County officials, engineers and historical experts spent hours at the site, carefully removing the marker and transporting it to Grand Junction's Mays Construction Specialties. Mays has donated extensive employee time to restore the marker to its original state.

Originally designed by the Public Service Company and paid for by the City of Grand Junction, the marker was dedicated on Sept. 24 and 25, 1931. An estimated 10,000 people attended the two-day celebration, which marked the completion of the route on U.S. Hwys. 50 (in Colorado) and 40 (in Utah) that joined the two states together.

The state-line monument dedication included:
  • Appearances by Colorado Gov. William Adams and other top officials. 
  • An air show that featured a parachute jump and stunt exhibitions. 
  • An “Air Circus” with six planes that gave attendees rides.
  • Local residents renting rooms to out-of-town visitors. It was deemed “the biggest crowd the city had ever seen.”
  • A midnight showing of “Monkey Business” at The Avalon Theatre.
  • A governor’s banquet, a barbecue, fireworks and a dance at Lincoln Park.
  • A football game between Grand Junction and Fruita High Schools.
  • A carnival with more than 40 booths.
  • A parade on Main Street with the crowning of the Queen of the Rockies.

"This is such an important piece of Mesa County history," McInnis said. "We're really excited to see it properly restored.”

Other partners in the project include the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Bureau of Land Management and the Museums of Western Colorado.

Community members are invited to the June 25 ceremony at 10:00 a.m. Because the ceremony will be conducted at the marker’s new home on the shoulder of I-70, attendees are discouraged from parking their cars at the site. Grand Valley Transit buses will be available to take attendees from the Rabbit Valley parking lot (off of I-70) to and from the state line for the ceremony.

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