A Virtual Visit To the Ghost Town of Historic Fruita, Utah
Hey, Fruita, Colorado - meet your ghost town namesake Fruita, Utah less than three hours away.
A Town Founded By a Group of Mormons
The tiny town of Fruita, Utah was founded in 1880 as Junction by a group of Mormons led by Nels Johnson. Just over 20 years later it became known as Fruita because of the large orchards in Wayne County.
The town was abandoned in 1955, purchased by the National Park Service, and included in Capitol Reef National Park. Only a few buildings remain including a restored schoolhouse, and the Gifford House and barn. It doesn't look anything like a town today.
The Historic Fruita Schoolhouse
The schoolhouse was built in 1896, and children were primarily taught reading, writing, and arithmetic but occasionally they would get history and geography. The one-room schoolhouse was also used for religious services and dances. The building was renovated in 1966 by the National Park Service.
The Gifford House, now a museum and store, was originally built in 1908 by a polygamist named Calvin Pendleton. Eventually, the home was sold to the Giffords who occupied the place for 41 years raising cows, hogs, chicken ducks, and sheep. It is said the Giffords would often get together with other Fruita residents for suppers, singing, games, cards, baseball, reading, and quilting.
The Fruita Rural Historic District sits on 200 acres in south-central Utah and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In the area, you'll find the beautiful Fruita Campground where visitors can stay while visiting Capitol Reef National Park.