Discover Grand County

Grand County Celebrating 150 Years

The Grand County Historical Association is hosting a free 150th birthday party on February 2, 2024, at their historic Fraser Cozens Ranch Museum. Photo by Penny Rafferty Hamilton.

Before Colorado became a state, the Territorial Government created Grand County on February 2, 1874, naming Hot Sulphur Springs the county seat. In the 1860s, William Byers, the founder of the Rocky Mountain News, envisioned a hot springs resort, platting the new town and naming the streets.

Today, Grand County, nestled in Colorado’s north-central Rocky Mountains, encompasses 1,868 square miles of spectacular scenery and resorts. It was named for the Grand River — now known as the Colorado River — which begins in Rocky Mountain National Park near Grand Lake.

Mountain Parks Electric in Grand County expanded county-wide electric service and upgraded distribution systems beginning in 1953. MPE linemen wave from a power pole near MPE’s original headquarters in historic downtown Granby. Photo courtesy of MPE.

Across the West, the 1862 Homestead Act, which promised 160 acres of land, allowed settlers to stake their claims. In 1867, Joseph L. Wescott became Grand Lake’s first permanent resident. In 1874, Billy and Mary Cozens became Fraser Valley’s first residents. The Grand County Historical Association is hosting a free birthday celebration on Friday, February 2, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Cozens Ranch Museum. Imagine 150 years ago, pioneers built the house, barn, and corral, which is now on the National Historic Register.

Understanding the historic significance, the Grand County commissioners are partnering with preservation groups celebrating throughout the year, adopting the theme, “150 Years of Keeping Life Grand.” Colorado Speaker of the House, Julie McCluskie, and Senator Dylan Roberts, representing Grand County, are introducing a 2024 joint tribute resolution. Happy Sesquicentennial Grand County!

Dr. Hamilton is an award-winning writer, author of four books about Grand County history, Granby: Then and Now 1905–2005, Around Granby and Grand County Images of America series, and A to Z: Your Grand County History Alphabet. Hamilton is a laureate of the Colorado Authors, Colorado Women’s, and Colorado Aviation Halls of Fame. Her website is