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History of Green River, Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
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Agriculture and ranching have been important to the Green River economy from the beginning. While the climate proved unsuitable for peaches, the relatively long frost-free season and hot summer temperatures of Green River's 4,000-foot elevation are ideal for growing melons. J.H. "Melon" Brown was experimenting with the crop as early as 1900, and the industry reached its peak in the 1920s when the Green River "winter melon," a hard-skinned variety that would keep until Christmas, was well known in Midwestern and Eastern markets. The largest agricultural operation was the Wilson Produce Company, whose properties were later acquired by Thayn Brothers. Melons are still an important crop, and the annual Melon Days celebration is a highlight of the local social year.

Green River's location is still its most important asset. Early attempts to establish commercial riverboat operations between Green River and Moab ended in failure, but pioneer "river rats" like Bert Loper laid the foundation for a recreational boating industry. The town's river heritage is celebrated in the John Wesley Powell River History Museum, opened in 1990. The historic Green River crossing is now the route of Interstate 70. The 105 miles from Salina to Green River represent the longest stretch without services on the entire Interstate highway system, so traveler service industries are quite naturally the town's economic mainstay today. The population of Green River in 1990 was 744 in Emery County plus an additional 122 across the river in Grand County.

See: Emery County Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Castle Valley: A History of Emery County (1949); Emery County Historical Society, Emery County, 1880-1980 (1981).

Edward A. Geary


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