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.
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).