Threshold to History: Local Mystery Remains Unsolved

By: Lisa McDivitt
By: Lisa McDivitt

On today’s morning show, I took viewers into the Margery Building in downtown Grand Junction for the third installment of our Threshold to History series. The place has a ton of charm, and a very interesting past.

I learned about the Margery Building, and the rumors surrounding its second floor, when I was shooting video for the story about Benge’s Shoe Store (click here to see that story). A local artist who works out of the old ballroom of the Margery Building told me if I’m interested in the city’s past, I should check out the studios that were rumored to have been used as a meeting place for the Klu Klux Klan in the 1920s.

Checking in with my contact at the Museum of the West, Zebulon Miracle, I learned that it’s unconfirmed whether the Klan actually met up in those rooms. What is established is that the KKK had a very large following in Colorado during the 1920s, and that many prominent public figures were in line with the organization, including Grand Junction’s governor Clarence Morley, who was elected in 1924. According to the information that Miracle gave me, the Klan also controlled one state Supreme Court judge, seven benches on the Denver District Court, and the Secretary of State’s office. Miracle said they are doing research to find out if they can definitively say whether the building was used as a meeting place for the Klan, so I’ll keep you posted about what I learn.

Back to the origins of the building itself, the woman for whom the building was named lived a very interesting, but short, life. Margery Reed was the daughter of the building’s developer, Colorado millionaire Verner Z. Reed. She was 13 when the building was constructed and named after her. She later traveled the world with her father, and attended the University of Denver. When she graduated from DU in 1919 she spoke German, French and Italian fluently. She also published a book of short stories and taught in the university’s English Literature department. She died at the age of 32, after catching a tropical disease while she was living in Lima with her husband. (Thanks to the Museum of the West for providing me with the written record of that history.) The Margery Building in Grand Junction is one of two buildings bearing her name, as four years after her death, DU dedicated the Margery Reed Mayo Memorial Hall to her.

I hope you liked today’s historical adventure. Please leave me your thoughts about the story, as well as any ideas or suggestions you might have for places I could explore in the future.
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  • by Jordan Location: gjt on Feb 21, 2009 at 10:11 PM
    Very cool. didn't know that. You should check out a grave on top of 5th street in Orchard mesa. It's supposed to be the grave of the one of the founders of grand junction. It's old and chained off, and it looks more like a tomb.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 20, 2009 at 03:41 PM
    Your local history is very interesting. Dig up some more historical building for us to look at. Excellent. DHS
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