Located west of Grand Junction near the northern rim of the Uncompahgre Plateau, the 20,500 acre (32 square miles) area which is now the Colorado National Monument encompasses six canyons, each with distinctive cliffs and sandstone monoliths. The monument was officially established by presidential proclamation in 1911. Given the rugged terrain and relative remoteness, access to the monument was a problem for decades after its creation.
The buildings, roads, and trails nominated here are important for their association with the history of the development of the area as a national monument. Two primary historical themes characterize the evolution of the monument. The first deals with the construction of various structures throughout the monument by Depression-era public relief agencies such as the Public Works Administration, the Works Progress Administration, and the Civilian Conservation Corps. The second theme identifies the development of automobile routes and tourist access to the monument during its first 40 years. (Cover documentation accepted by National Register in 1994.)
Constructed in 1941 with Emergency Conservation Works funding, the Rustic style shelter is significant for its association with the Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration. Built of locally quarried sandstone, to serve as a comfort station and picnic shelter, it is the only such structure in Colorado National Monument.
Constructed between 1931 and 1950, the district is significant for its role in the development of automobile access and tourism in Colorado National Monument and its contribution to the local economy during the Great Depression. The district’s contributing features are representative of National Park Service Rustic style architecture in their use of native building materials.
Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1935 and 1936, as the first permanent buildings in Colorado National Monument, the caretaker’s house and garage are significant for their association with public relief projects of the Great Depression.
Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1937, to accommodate the recreational needs of visitors to Colorado National Monument, the station is significant for its association with CCC and WPA relief programs during the Great Depression.
Significant for its association with the Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration, the district includes four good examples of National Park Service Rustic style architecture. The structures were constructed of locally quarried sandstone by the CCC with Emergency Conservation Works funding.
Constructed between 1912 and 1921, Serpents Trail provided the only automobile access to Colorado National Monument until 1937 when the Fruita Canyon portion of Rim Rock Drive opened. Serpents Trail reflects engineering techniques used in the construction of early automobile roads in difficult terrain and was specifically designed to optimize the scenery of the park.