One of the premier attractions in Grand Junction, is Cross Orchards, A Living History Museum. Cross Orchards is part of the Museum of Western Colorado and their mission is to preserve and interpret the social and agricultural heritage of the Grand Valley and Colorado’s Western Slope.
Cross Orchards depicts the rural life back in the days and dates back to 1896 when Isabelle Cross purchased the land. By 1909, when the Red Cross Land and Fruit Company was incorporated, the Farm’s 243 acres had over 22,000 apples. The bunkhouse is the original structure erected in 1897, and over the years has been modified. The bunkhouse has two separate bedrooms, the bunk common room and the dining room which are together and a kitchen with a functional wood-burning stove and dry goods pantry.
The large packing shed still has stacks of old wooden apple and peach crates stacked in the corner and outside are the tall orchard ladders the workers used. The livery stable is attached to the packing shed and the horse stalls have vintage harnesses hanging on the wall. Other buildings include a chicken coop, country store, blacksmith shop, an equipment barn turned into a museum that houses vintage fire trucks, cars, furniture, equipment, and has showcases full of memorabilia.
An interesting collection of vintage farm equipment, tractors, and trucks occupy the entire back of the property. The orchard is also the repository of the largest collection of Uintah Railways cars in Colorado.
Every spring Cross Orchards hosts a “Spring Day on the Farm”, and on that day the farm comes to life. The fire is roaring in the blacksmith shop, the woodworker is making toys in the woodshop and kids get a demonstration on gold panning. People are dressed in vintage clothing, and pans of hot cookies from the wood-burning stove are put out for guests. Ladies knitting, a fiddle player and pens of farm animals most with babies delight the children.
As you stroll the grounds, reflect on the changes that have occurred from 19th century America when the majority of people lived and worked on farms, to the 21st century where only 2% of all Americas are actively engaged in farming. Come step back in time to a place that is different and fascinating.
Cross Orchards is located 3073 F (Patterson) Road in Grand Junction. Their phone number is 970-434-9814. Cross Orchards is open May 1 through October 31st, Thursday through Saturday 9:00 am-4:00 pm