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Rarely in Grand Junction does one have the chance to view the city from on high –only one building comes close to being a skyscraper, and unless you visit the upper floors, it’s unlikely you've had a chance to get that bird’s eye view. But protruding over the Museum of Western Colorado is an observation tower that boasts the best view in town. As a sort of periscope over the valley, it serves both as joy ride and educational device linking what you've learned inside the Museum to the landscape that has shaped that history. From your perch 75 feet in the air you can see the city grid, the Bookcliffs, fields and orchards of Palisade, the snake of the Colorado River, and the Colorado Plateau.

The Tower is purple. It is 125 feet to the top and emerges out of a 36-foot tall concrete and sandstone base. The exposed steel frame and bracing has an industrial feel consistent with the adjacent warehouse district. The elevator stops one floor short of the observation deck so the 360-degree view is uncompromised. Persons with disabilities ride a glass lift to the top. The design of the steel frame leaves the corners open where the views are the best; the landings at each open corner of the stair allow for an increasingly panoramic view as you go up. The observation deck itself is cantilevered beyond the structure and protects the faint hearted with large interpretive panels delineating the landmarks in the view below.

Museum of Western Colorado Observation Tower

Grand Junction, Colorado

A three-story steel frame observation tower over the city of Grand Junction

Photography: ©

Client: Museum of Western Colorado

Completed: 1997

Awards: AIA Colorado 2000 Citation Award

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