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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Half a century of gathering and growth in Glade Park

Jul 02, 2024 03:44PM ● By Diana Barnett

The Pipe Line School, which closed in 1951 due to a declining student population, was later repurposed as the Glade Park Community Center.

Today, many are drawn to Glade Park for its tranquil beauty and seclusion from urban life, situated just 16 miles west of downtown Grand Junction near the Colorado National Monument. 

Historically, however, families often settled there out of necessity rather than choice. The community primarily consisted of sheep ranchers and subsistence farmers who managed large gardens and cultivated cash crops such as wheat, pinto beans and potatoes. As the profitability of dryland farming declined, some turned to cattle ranching.

Glade Park mainly included sheep ranchers and subsistence farmers growing crops like wheat, pinto beans and potatoes. As dryland farming became less profitable, some shifted to cattle ranching.

Widespread homes across the sprawling 600,000 acres of Glade Park left community members socially isolated, particularly given limited transportation options. Despite this, the community was tight-knit and eventually recognized the need for a central gathering space for meetings and events.

Organized under The Piñon Mesa Stockgrowers’ Association, local ranchers and other community members proposed acquiring the Pipe Line School building to serve as a community center. Built in 1922, this school was one of seven that served the area until it closed in 1951 due to a dwindling student population. It remains the only intact clapboard schoolhouse in the region.

Originally located on the Kenneth Young property, adjacent to its current address at 1411 S. 16 ½ Road, the school was greatly valued by community leaders. 

Community member Ike Hubbard offered land to relocate the building, and following a community vote, the building was moved 200 feet south, becoming the meeting location for Glade Park Community Services (GPCS).

GPCS was officially formed in November 1973 and held its first meeting on January 12, 1974, with board members August Aubert, Charles Beard, Shirley Gore, Dan Meinhart and Eugene Vories in attendance.

THROUGH THE DECADES

For the past 50 years, the community center has been a hub for the Glade Park Church, 4-H and various social groups. It has been the venue for a wide array of events, including dances, potlucks and chili competitions. 

GPCS board minutes over the years consistently highlight efforts to promote a connected and active community.

One of the Board’s early initiatives was acquiring additional land adjacent to the community center. This expansion, supported by a successful fundraising campaign in 2008-2009 that raised $46,000, led to a collaboration with Mesa County and neighboring property owners. This partnership allowed for the extension of the community center grounds to accommodate enhanced community services.

Recognizing the critical need for emergency services in this extensive rural area, the community established the Glade Park Volunteer Fire Department. This team serves as the primary responder to all domestic and wildland fires, as well as other emergencies and accidents throughout the region.

With the expansion, the Board also assumed responsibility for managing and maintaining the local cemetery.

Glade Park Cemetery

The most recent school closure prompted the donation of a building that was transformed into the Book Barn, a mini library that’s organized and maintained by GPCS and is open to the community. GPCS also launched Listen Up on the Park, an evening program featuring talks on various topics including canning, fire mitigation, developing land trusts and the hydrology of Glade Park. 

The Board also facilitated the annual calendar contest, which has become a celebrated event showcasing the work of local photographers.

To increase communication and engagement, GPCS established a presence on social media. They also erected a marquis at the junction of DS and 16 ½ Road.

In 2012, GPCS started the Cowboy Poetry Gathering, an annual summer event that revives interest in the cowboy way of life characteristic of early Glade Park. This event also raises funds to restore the arena and rodeo grounds, which have hosted numerous rodeos and provided countless practice opportunities for youth.

A HISTORICAL CELEBRATION

The Glade Park community will mark the 50th anniversary of its community service organization with a celebratory event on July 27 at the Glade Park Community Center, 1411 S. 16 1/2 Road. 

The public is invited to join from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. for a day of festivity and reflection on the past five decades.

The celebration will feature a variety of free activities suitable for all ages, including a history display, a BBQ rib cookoff, live music, line dancing, cornhole and more. For younger attendees, there will be a Bump ‘n Jump and water balloon games.

Glade Park Community Services’ 50th Anniversary Celebration

Saturday, July 27 • 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Glade Park Community Center,  1411 S. 16 1/2 Road

Free, fun activities for all!

For more information, call 970-270-5484 or visit glade-park.com/community-events-calendar.html


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