- Associated Press - Sunday, October 26, 2014

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) - Residents of Grand Junction have restored a mausoleum for their founder after vandals pried raised letters marking the resting site of George Crawford from the entrance and it fell into disrepair.

Following more than a century battered by the elements, the structure has been restored to its former glory thanks to an informal collective of local residents.

Former Grand Junction Mayor Bruce Hill headed up the group, spending nearly the last year and a half collecting $23,000 in private donations and summoning volunteer craftsmanship to spruce up the mausoleum. Work was completed this spring and summer.

“It’s amazing that we could bring it back,” Hill said.

Over the years, vandals pried raised letters that spelled out Geo. A. Crawford from the mausoleum entrance. Two stone spheres were removed from the top of the building. A plaque that bore Crawford’s birth and death dates wore away, a gate was removed and an unwelcoming metal fence was placed around the site, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported Sunday (https://tinyurl.com/pc6azqp).

The missing spheres, raised lettering above the entrance and the plaque inside the mausoleum were replaced by Dan Carlson, owner of Carlson Memorials.

Crawford’s body was placed in the mausoleum above Orchard Mesa Cemetery 116 years ago after he spent nearly eight years buried in a temporary plot in the municipal cemetery.

Museum of the West Curator of History Dave Bailey said Crawford reportedly requested his body be buried on the hill because it is where he first glimpsed a dusty Grand Valley with just a few riverside trees breaking up the desert landscape and he envisioned the city it could become.

Bailey said restoring the grave site is good for the community.

“Everybody got concerned because it got run down,” Bailey said. “It’s neat that it could be restored, because it is significant.”

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Information from: The Daily Sentinel, https://www.gjsentinel.com

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