History of Fruita, Utah

Fruita, located at the confluence of the Fremont River and Sulphur Creek, Wayne County, was settled in the latter part of the 1870's and 1880's by a few stout LDS pioneers. The first settler is thought to have been Franklin W. Young in 1884, a squatter. Nels Johnson, however, seems to be the first landholder of record to actually stake his homestead.

Initially the name of the town was called Junction, because of its location between the two rivers. In order to avoid confusion between it and several other towns by the same name, it was changed to Fruita in 1904.

Thanks to the life-giving water supply of the Fremont River, early pioneers soon discovered that they could raise crops such as alfalfa, various vegetables and sorghum, a tropical cereal grass used for molasses and syrup. Fruit trees by the thousands, planted below the spectacular cliffs of the Waterpocket Fold by the early settlers, still thrive in the good soil of the bottom land. Franklin W. Young refered to Fruita as the "Eden of Wayne County". A thousand years ealier the Fremont indians, whose petroglyphs are found in the area, relied on the same river to irrigate their crops.

Prior to 1904, a spectacular cottonwood tree, still alive and doing well, served as the "Post Office", a shady place to congregate and anxiously await the arrival of the mail.

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