The earliest documented occupants of the Fruita region were members of the Desert Archaic Culture, dating from about 8,500 to 2,000 years ago. These people travelled along the Fremont River and Sulphur Creek valleys, using the steep cliffs for depicting their rock art, and tapping available food resources.
The fertile, narrow corridor of land along the drainages through the Fruita area was cultivated and used extensively by the Fremont peoples between 1,500-700 years ago. Rock shelters, open habitation sites, and multiple storage structures indicate semi-permanent habitation occurred throughout the area. Corn and other crops were grown, and evidence suggests that irrigation was used to enhance the potential success and yield of crops. These people also created imposing anthropomorphic rock art figures on the steep cliff walls which overlook the valley floor. Twenty-four archeological sites in the Fruita area reflect these occupations and provide evidence of the earliest farmers in the area.
Subsequent habitation of the Fruita area was by protohistoric Paiute groups who, similarly, used the drainages as major passageways and as a source for profitable hunting and gathering of wild food resources. It was the Paiutes who met the first Mormon settlers in Garfield and Wayne counties in the late nineteenth century.
Last Updated: 01-Apr-2003