The City of Fruita (pronounced /fruːtə/) is a Home Rule Municipality located in the western part of Mesa County, Colorado, United States. It is part of the Grand Junction Metropolitan Statistical Area and within the Grand Valley. The geography is identified by the bordering Colorado River (historically known as the Grand River) on the southern edge of town, the Uncompahgre Plateau known for its pinyon-juniper landscape, and the Book Cliffs range on the northern edge of the Grand Valley. It is located 18 miles (29 km) east of the Utah border near the 39° parallel. The population was 11,535 at the 2008 census. Originally home to the Ute people, white farmers settled the town after founder William Pabor in 1884. Ten years later, Fruita was incorporated.
Economically, it started out as a fruit producing region, however today it is well known for its outdoor sports such as mountain biking, hiking, and rafting, its proximity to the Colorado National Monument, and its annual festivals. Fruita has been the winner of the Governor’s Smart Growth and Development Award for four consecutive years. The city motto is "Honor the Past, Envision the Future".
Fruita has had steady population growth for over a century, with descendants of many of the original pioneers still living in the area. The first permanent homesteaders in the Fruita area were possibly Mr. and Mrs. Albert Lapham who settled in late 1882. They resided in a pre-existing cabin with a dirt floor and a blanket door. They were followed by other settlers, nearly all of whom were farmers of one sort or another. The present day town was established on May 1, 1884 by William E. Pabor, when he formed the Fruita Town and Land Company. In 1886, for the cost of $500 a farmer could buy five acres, 200 fruit trees and water. Pabor recognized the great promise of the Grand Valley and penned a 300-page volume, “ Colorado as an Agricultural State ,” in which he spoke of the fruit growing potential of this area. Having worked with the Horace Greeley Union Colony, he founded the town in a similar way, including the provision that no liquor was sold or manufactured in the town. This provision lasted until it was voted out in the late 1970s.