Grand County History

Grand County

The Territory of Colorado established Grand County in February 1874, taking its name from Grand Lake and Grand River (now known as the Colorado River); therefore becoming a county two years before Colorado became an official state. Grand County was originally carved out of Summit County and contained land north and west of state borders. On January 29, 1877, Routt County was formed, and Grand County shrunk down to its current western boundaries. Grand County is made up of several towns, Granby, Grand Lake, Hot Sulphur Springs, Kremmling, Parshall, Tabernash, Fraser, and Winter Park, and each town has a rich and unique history of its own.


Granby was founded in 1905. The town was named after attorney Granby Hillyer, who worked to lay out the town site. Granby was created along the railroad being build by Denver, Northwestern, & Pacific. The site was chosen because of the dry ground and great views of the surrounding Rocky Mountains.

Grand Lake

Grand Lake was established by pioneers in 1879 and incoproated in 1944; the first settler-prospector was Joseph L. Wescott. Grand Lake Town & Improvement Company as a mining settlement founded Grand Lake, but as the mines played out, beautiful Grand Lake and tourism became the focus of the town.

Hot Sulphur Springs

Hot Sulphur Springs, founded in 1860, is named for the famous and refreshing hot spring in the area. In the past, Ute and Arapaho tribes used the hot springs as their "healing waters".


In 1881, the town of Kremmling began as a general merchandise store on the north side of Muddy Creek ran by Kare Kremmling. Later that year, Aaron and John Kinsey platted their ranch and called it Kinsey City, so Kare moved his store across the river to the new site of Kinsey City. Soon people were calling the place Kremmling, not Kinsey City, but the name Kremmling was not officially recognized until 1895.


Parshall was established I 1907 when Mr. Dow founded a small store and circulated a petition for a post office. The name "Parshall" was chosen to honor a local pioneer, and the US postal authorities accepted it because no other post office had that name in the entire country.


Tabernash was on the homestead of 1882 pioneer Edward J. Vulgamott. In 1905, this enclave came into existence due to its location during the construction of Denver & Salt Lake Railroad. The chief engineer of the railroad named the town after a member of the Ute Tribe named Tabernash who was killed by a white man named "Big Frank."


Fraser was established in 1905 in the anticipation of the arrival of the Moffat Tunnel and incorporated in 1953.. Ruben Frazier, an early Grand County Settler, was the namesake of the town of Fraser. The Postal Service adopted a simpler spelling when the Post Office was established in town, changing it from "Frazier" to Fraser".

Winter Park

The town of Winter Park was first settled in 1923 and was incorporated in 1978. Winter Park came into existence as a construction camp during the construction of the Moffat Tunnel. In 1938 due to the rush of winter sports enthusiasts flooding the area, the U.S. Forest Service gave the City and County of Denver permission to develop land for winter sports, constructing ski-tows and trails. In 1940, the Winter Park Ski area was formally opened.

For more information about the extensive history of Grand County, Colorado click on any of the links below.