of the town ebbed and flowed. Monticello became the county seat in 1895
and in 1910 was incorporated as a city. A brick schoolhouse erected
in 1897 replaced the log cabin school built nine years before. The Blue
Mountain Irrigation Company accepted bids for a combined water and power
system that came to fruition in 1917, supplying the 250-member community
with twenty-four hour service. The town welcomed its first phone lines
in 1906, tying communications in to Colorado circuits; two years later,
Monticello connected with Moab. In 1915 Oscar McConkie established the
San Juan Record, the county newspaper, in Monticello where it remains
to this day.
World War II
brought further changes. The Vanadium Corporation of America (VCA) selected
Monticello as a site for a wartime vanadium processing mill. It employed
200 workers until it closed in 1946, only to reopen in 1949 as a converted
vanadium and uranium plant. During the 1950s, the mill processed large
amounts of ore taken from the canyons of southeastern Utah; however,
in 1960, the Atomic Energy Commission closed the plant permanently.
The government conducted a tailings cleanup project in the 1990s to
remove any hazardous waste from the site.