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“Grandby hires Tom Hale”

Brief by Central Staff

Geographic Nomenclature – May 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

The town in Middle Park is Granby, not Grandby, as the Chaffee County Times of Buena Vista had it on March 16. It is a common mistake, one that we often noticed when we lived in nearby Kremmling.

Granby is in Grand County, near the junction of the Fraser River with the Colorado River. Until 1921, that segment of the river was known as the Grand River, which also lent its name to Grand Lake, Grand Valley, and Grand Junction.

The town’s name does not derive from the river or the county, however, but from Granby Hillyer, a Denver attorney who assisted the Frontier Land & Investment Company when it laid out the townsite in 1905 as the railroad came through.

Hillyer later gained a degree of infamy as an advocate for the coal companies during the Ludlow Massacre of 1914. Given that, and the frequent misspelling, perhaps the town’s founders should have used another suggestion 95 years ago: Strawberry, for a nearby creek.