Loma, Colorado

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Loma, Colorado
Unincorporated community
Location of Loma in Mesa County, Colorado.
Location of Loma in Mesa County, Colorado.
Loma, Colorado is located in Colorado
Loma, Colorado
Loma, Colorado
Location in Mesa County and the state of Colorado
Loma, Colorado is located in the US
Loma, Colorado
Loma, Colorado
Loma, Colorado (the US)
Coordinates: 39°11′45″N 108°48′47″W / 39.19583°N 108.81306°W / 39.19583; -108.81306Coordinates: 39°11′45″N 108°48′47″W / 39.19583°N 108.81306°W / 39.19583; -108.81306
Country  United States
State  Colorado
County Mesa[1]
Elevation[1] 4,508 ft (1,374 m)
Time zone UTC-7 (MST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-6 (MDT)
ZIP code[2] 81524
Area code(s) 970
GNIS feature ID 174379[1]

Loma is an unincorporated community and census designated place in Mesa County, Colorado, United States.[1][3]

Loma is located 18.5 mi (29.8 km) northwest of Grand Junction. The Colorado River flows south of Loma.

The name "Loma" is derived from a Spanish word meaning "small hill".[4]

History[edit]

The area was first inhabited by the Ute people, who had left by 1881.[5]

In 1882, the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad completed a narrow gauge railroad through Loma. A standard gauge track was installed in 1890.[6]

Homesteaders began arriving in Loma in the late 1880s.[5][6] Agriculture became a dominant feature in Loma's early economy, enabled by the completion of the Kiefer Extension irrigation canal in 1899.[5] The railway provided easy shipment of crops and livestock to larger cities like Denver and Salt Lake City.[6]

The first school was established in the 1890s, and the two-story Loma School was constructed in 1910 from yellow brick, fired on the grounds. The brick school remained in use until 1982, when Loma Elementary School opened.[6][7]

In 1901, the Colorado Sugar Company opened 1,000 acres (400 ha) of land near Loma to settlers. Sugar beets were a primary crop, and beet production dominated Loma's agriculture until the 1970s, when the Delta Sugar Beet factory closed.[5][6] Potatoes were also grown by Loma farmers.[6]

The Loma post office opened in 1905, and has continued in operation since.[8]

Verner Zevola Reed, known as "The Colorado Millionaire"", opened the Golden Hills ranch on 1,200 acres (490 ha) of land 2 mi (3.2 km) he purchased north of Loma in 1907. Reed intended on growing apples, and installed an underground irrigation system to water his orchards. In 1911, the Loma Canning and Preserving Company opened a canning factory in Loma to process the anticipated harvests. The endeavor was not a success, and the canning factory closed a few years later without ever reaching its capacity. Reed sold the Golden Hills Ranch in 1923.[6][9]

A second irrigation canal called the Highline Canal was built through Loma in 1917, and led to significant economic growth and several bumper crops during the 1920s.[5][6][7]

By 1923, Loma had a school, blacksmith, garage, railroad station, school, two-story hotel, shipping yard, post office, pool hall, two churches, two grocery stores, and many two-story homes.[5]

During the Depression, the federal government relocated 32 families from the Dust Bowl to Loma.[6][7]

A "reading room" was established in Loma in 1936 as part of an effort to provide rural citizens in Mesa County with free public library service.[10] In 1938, the Loma Community Hall was erected, and was used for community meetings and social events. The hall was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.[11]

A uranium mine and mill were built near Loma in the 1940s. Small settlements such as Loma with uranium mines were called "yellowcake towns" because the uranium oxide they produced resembled cake mix.[12]

In the 1950s, a pipeline was constructed along an abandoned Uintah Railway track to carry a mixture of crushed gilsonite ore and water from Bonanza, Utah to Loma. The American Gilsonite Company owned the slurry line, and built a plant in Loma where the gilsonite was refined into gasoline, "gilsapave" paving tar, and briquettes used for aluminum refining. The plant was later purchased by Gary Refining.[5][6][9]

In July 2015, the Colorado Department of Transportation installed Loma's first signal light at the intersection of Highway 139 and Route 6.[citation needed]

Geography[edit]

Residents of Loma value the rural character of their community, which is defined as having:

A sense of openness that is created by farmsteads, viable agriculture, farm based businesses, small subdivisions, mixed housing types and lot sizes, single-lane farm roads, and two core villages [Loma and Mack] that are the focal points of the surrounding landscape. The underpinnings of rural character is supported by this self chosen lifestyle of small town values, family, community, independence, responsibility, conservation, entrepreneurship, and a strong work ethic.[7]

Loma has a hillside letter; a large "L" located at the following location south of Loma: 39°11′22″N 108°50′34.61″W / 39.18944°N 108.8429472°W / 39.18944; -108.8429472.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[13]

Economy[edit]

The current agricultural base of the Loma area consists predominately of small scale cattle operations, row crop cultivation, and lifestyle agriculture.[7]

Parks and recreation[edit]

The Loma Community Park covers about 0.5 acres (0.20 ha) and includes a small playground.[7]

There is significant publicly owned land in and around Loma, managed primarily by the Bureau of Land Management.[7] The Loma Boat Launch State Wildlife Area, located south of Loma, is a popular access point to the Colorado River for recreation activities.[7][14] The trailhead of the Kokopelli Trail, a 142 mi (229 km) recreation trail, is located southwest of Loma.[15] The trail follows a route which passes through the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area, a 123,430-acre (49,950 ha) conservation area located south of Loma.[16]

Education[edit]

Education is provided by the Mesa County Valley School District 51.

Loma Elementary School is located in Loma. Its mascot is the lion, and school colors are green and white.[17] After elementary school, Loma students attend Fruita Middle School and Fruita Monument High School in Fruita.

Media[edit]

KCDC radio station located in Loma.[18]

Infrastructure[edit]

Law Enforcement is provided by the Mesa County Sheriff and the Colorado State Patrol. Fire protection is provided by the Lower Valley Volunteer Fire District, which has a station in Loma.[7]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Loma
  2. ^ "LOMA CO 81524". United State Postal Service. Retrieved May 6, 2017. 
  3. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Loma Census Designated Place
  4. ^ Dawson, John Frank. Place Names in Colorado: Why 700 Communities Were So Named, 150 of Spanish or Indian Origin. Denver, Colorado: The J. Frank Dawson Publishing Co. p. 33. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Ruland-Thorne, Kate (2016). Historic Tales of Colorado’s Grand Valley: Heroes, Heroines, Hucksters and Hooligans. Arcadia. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Loma Community Design Guidelines and Standards". Mesa County. 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Loma / Mack Area Plan". Mesa County Planning Commission. August 19, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Post Offices". Jim Forte Postal History. Retrieved May 6, 2017. 
  9. ^ a b "Loma Community Plan". Mesa County, Colorado. May 1, 2009. 
  10. ^ "Library History". Mesa County Libraries. Retrieved May 6, 2017. 
  11. ^ Loma Community Hall, National Register of Historic Places
  12. ^ Conway, Bernard. "Uranium Mining". Colorado Encyclopedia. Retrieved May 6, 2017. 
  13. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2016. 
  14. ^ "Loma Boat Launch SWA". Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Retrieved May 6, 2017. 
  15. ^ "Kokopelli Trail". Bikerpelli. Retrieved May 6, 2017. 
  16. ^ "McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area". Bureau of Land Management. Retrieved April 6, 2017. 
  17. ^ "Loma Elementary School". Mesa County Valley School District 51. Retrieved May 6, 2017. 
  18. ^ "KCDC". Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved May 6, 2017. 
  19. ^ Shapiro, T. Rees (November 10, 2016). "For 'The Michelangelo of Snow,' Every Ski Trail is a Work of Art". The Washington Post.