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
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
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