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Local Fruit History


U.H. Walker came to Nucla with his family

in 1898 from Kansas to join the newly

formed Colorado Cooperative Company.

He planted his first orchard in 1904 at the

current Nucla townsite. He was likely the

nursery manager of the tree nursery at Piñon.


Mr. Rockwood and Mrs. Guadalupe Blake

from New Mexico and Edwin Payson, a

world renowned scientist with a Ph.D. in

botany, set orchards in Naturita at the turn

of the century as well. Mr. Payson

discovered and named two flowers that are

unique to this area, Payson Lupine and
Naturita Milkvetch.


In Paradox, P.T. Stevens, J.Q. Waggoner,

Wood Galloway and others set orchards

that also produced fruit of unsurpassed

quality. A 1906 article reports an apple

delivered to Telluride from the Stevens

ranch measuring 15 inches in circumference

and weighing 18 ounces. 

At Coventry, Mace Davis reportedly planted

the orchard at the base of the hill in 1898.

The Montrose Fruit Company was formed

shortly thereafter at Shenandoah.

Perhaps the largest orchard in the state of

Colorado in the early 1900s was owned by

John Ashenfelter. Edward Silva, then George

Phillips kept the farm "as neat and clean as a

new pin". The entire shipment from this 360

acre farm in 1908 included 26,408 boxes of

apples, 12,485 boxes of peaches, and 54,045

pounds of dried prunes. Fruit from this farm

was awarded at least 49 premiums at the

Colorado State Fair. Other prominent fruit

growers in the Montrose area were the Bell

brothers, Health, Upton, Kyle, Wilson, Getz,
Anderson, Keller, Price, Doland and Tobin.

A 1922 survey counted 61,313 apple trees

and 5,500 other fruit trees in Montrose

County. We hope that some of these trees

remain living; even more, we would be

honored to have the opportunity to carry on

their genetics through the grafting process.


–Information & Photos provided by the Rimrocker        
Historical Society

Heirloom varieties historically
grown in this region:

Apple: Rhode Island Greening, Wolf River,

Yellow Bellflower, Jonathan, Rome Beauty,

Grimes Golden, Summer Banana, Winter

Banana, Winesap, Arkansas Black, Ben

Davis, Wealthy, White Winter Pearmain,

Seek No Further, Gano, York Imperial,

Paragon, Yellow Transparent, Wagener,

Missouri Pippin, Red June, Maiden's Blush,


Pear: Duchess, Bartlett, Clapp Favorite,


Peach: Elberta, Early Crawford, Palmerston,

Smack, Stump the World, Old Mixon

Photo Courtesy of Rimrocker Historical Society
Circa 1900 Ditch Workers
B2 P23 #9 Mary Zatterstrom & Charlie Williams.jpg
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