Mormon pioneers began to settle in what is now Capitol Reef National Park in the early 1880’s. Nestled next to the Fremont River they enjoyed a prolonged farming season and planted a variety of fruit trees. The settlement was called Fruita, where a small group of large families lived. A National Monument was established in 1937, and by the 1960’s many of the existing homes and out buildings had been torn down. The Gifford Homestead, originally built in 1908, remains and serves as a quaint gift shop and museum of early life in Fruita.
The Gifford Museum is open from 8am to 6pm during the summer months. Fresh-baked cinnamon buns and homestyle fresh-baked fruit pies in apple, peach, cherry, and rhubarb are available for purchase. For a refreshing treat, guests can buy the homemade ice cream which can also be enjoyed in the shaded picnic area out front of the Gifford Homestead. Walk through and around the homestead to view some of the household items left from the original pioneers that lived here. Other buildings from the pioneer era in Fruita include the school house, Behunin Cabin, and other barns and outbuildings.