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April 29, 2022

Vintage Photographs Capture Main Street in Grand Junction During the Operation Foresight Project, 1962

In the 1950s, Grand Junction was thriving due to the Uranium Boom. Growth was expected to rise, and the arrival of commercial stores and shopping malls across America kick-started this forward-thinking initiative. Alongside Joe Lacy, Dale Hollingsworth, and Leland Schmidt, a city committee created a construction redesign for Main Street. Strides to make the area safe for pedestrians, as well as planning for parades, led to the winding path the street now takes. It was officially completed in 1962.

Even with all the success, the length of time downtown was under construction irked some Grand Junction citizens. Oral history interviewee Grace Wade mentions how beautiful it all came out, but notes other citizen’s reactions. “When they began to do the Operation Foresight the downtown was the biggest mess you ever saw in your life. And everyone just knew they were going to hate it. And of course, I think it’s just simply beautiful!”

Before the street renovation, Main Street was very wide, making crossing it difficult. Traffic was heavy and often fast, and the traffic lights set at the corners of the intersections were not ideally placed for driver viewing. The street also had angle-in parking, so drivers had to back out directly into the traffic.

Operation Foresight’s purpose was to deliberately slow down traffic and Main Street could effectively become a pedestrian-friendly downtown shopping park. Bench shelters and information kiosks were built. The serpentine walls and planters beautified the project. It was such a novel project, it gained national attention and awards, and earned Grand Junction the All-America City award from the National Civic League.


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