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Colorado National Monument

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1911. 2 miles southwest of Grand Junction via Colorado 340

John Otto, who lived as a hermit in Monument Canyon, long and loudly crusaded for designation of the towering sandstone sentinels overlooking the Colorado River valley near Grand Junction as a national monument. Otto was an eccentric brought before the courts three times for allegedly attempting to assassinate Colorado governors. Nevertheless, he found allies who helped win federal designation for this spectacular national monument. Otto became the first monument supervisor at a salary of $1 a month. With his burros and dynamite, he laid out many of the existing trails within the monument. Rimrock Drive, which follows one of Otto's foot trails, is a graceful, cliff-hanging highway with natural sandstone tunnels. Chunks of the handsome red stone serve as roadside retaining walls. This two-lane paved road was a project of the New Deal Civilian Conservation Corps, which paid unemployed young men $35 a week to build it.

Writing Credits

Thomas J. Noel


What's Nearby


Thomas J. Noel, "Colorado National Monument", [Grand Junction, Colorado], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Colorado, Thomas J. Noel. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997, 509-509.

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