2,943 issues of The Palisade Tribune are now on Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection Website!

One of our most important on-going projects is preserving archival copies of The Palisade Tribune and making them available on-line.

Thanks to generous donors, and support from the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection, 2,493 issues–beginning with the first edition June 6, 1903, and issues up to 1966 including the most recent 231 issues–from 1905-1950–are now on the Colorado Historic Newspapers website.  These include many interesting articles written in the 1930s Depression and World War II years! We continue  to raise funds to get more of Palisade’s newspaper of record digitized and online.  The next issues—from 1926, 1929 and 1930— planned to be added later this year, will fill in all the remaining issues we have available for digitizing from  1903 – 1950.

This is a wonderful resource of Palisade history! You can search by name or subject, or browse entire pages for articles of interest. The Palisade Tribune is just the fourth Mesa County newspaper digitally available on the CHNC site of over 200 newspapers with over 1.4 million pages from Colorado newspapers. The CHNC is a service of the Colorado State Library.

In addition to Palisade news, these Tribunes feature columns from nearby communities, including Mt. Lincoln, Rapid Creek, Cameo, Plateau Valley, Collbran and Mesa, as well as East Orchard Mesa, Clifton, Fruitvale, and even Mack and Loma. Some of the early 1950’s issues also include copies of The Fruita Times and Plateau Valley newspapers.

The funding for this digitization project is made possible by our generous private donors, as well as grants from the Colorado Historic Records Advisory Board (CHRAB) whose funding is from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), and National Archives Records Administration. We also appreciate support from the Colorado Historical Newspaper Collection and assistance from the Museums of Western Colorado Marie Tipping Archives.

 New Booklet “The History of Fruit & Wine In Palisade” 

The newest publication from the Palisade Historical Society is a 36-page booklet on “The History of Fruit & Wine in palisade, Colorado.” The cover photos are courtesy of Jim Cox. There are also historic photos and information about how we have grown the best tasting peaches in the world for over 125 years, notable inventions, as well as the more recent history of the wine industry – which includes grape growers and wineries. There is also a four page timeline. The suggested donation is $15 with a $5 discount for Historical Society Members. It is also available at the Palisade Chamber of Commerce, and at Out West Books and the Museums of the West Gift Shop in Grand Junction.

 Amazon Smile Purchases Benefit the Palisade Historical Society

Next time you purchase something from Amazon, go to Designate the Palisade Historical Society as your charity of choice and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the Palisade Historical Society!

It’s a painless way to financially support our efforts to preserve Palisade’s history. AmazonSmile has donated more than $38,000,000 to approved charities through this program.

Walking Tour brochure now an e-Book

The popular printed Palisade Historic Walking Tour brochure is now available as an e-Book! Simply go to Kindle Books and use your Amazon account to download it to your tablet or cell phone. The cost is $2.99 and proceeds benefit the Palisade Historical Society.

This project was inspired by historical Society member and volunteer Gayle Madden who has worked tirelessly on a number of Historical Society projects. Kent Brown, author of several e-Books, including Palisade, Colorado (2016) Hints for the Hurrying Traveler, volunteered his knowledge and electronic publishing skills to make the brochure a reality.

“This e-Book technology puts Palisade history in the palm of your hand to use when it’s convenient,” Brown said. “e-Book technology and historical walking tours are a perfect pairing.” he added. He also explained by double tapping a graphic, you can zoom in and move around to see more details. There are also active links to web-based archives which expand information if the walker chooses.

The e-Book version includes Lisa Harmons’ original artwork, and much of the text created for the printed version – which is still available at the History Center, on the rack outside the Palisade Chamber and in several retail locations, including Lupita’s Bizarre Baazar, Too! and Palisade Cafe 11.0. The electronic version includes additional photos as well as as summary of Palisade history at the end of the 42 buildings and stops highlighted in the book.


News from the Past:

Historic Guided Walking Tours – Saturday, December 1st – at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. 

The Palisade Historical Society offered our popular guided walking tours of downtown Palisade during Olde Fashioned Christmas on Saturday, December 1. You can select from three different tours offered at at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. The tours take about an hour, and explore different routes with information about the buildings, people, events, and stories about Palisade’s unique past. The Historic Guided Walking tours begin and end at the Palisade Chamber of Commerce office, 311 South Main Street. You can make reservations in advance by calling (970) 464-7458. A $5 donation is suggested for adults who take the guided tours.

“History of Irrigation” for the Town of Palisade Recreation Program – Wed. Nov 7th – 7 p.m. at the Palisade Community Center

“The History of Irrigation in Palisade” is the Town of Palisade’s Recreation  Community History Program in November. You will learn about the fascinating history of our most valuable resource and what makes living in the Grand Valley possible. You don’t need to register in advance, although donations are appreciated. The program will be held Wednesday, November 7th from 7 p.m.  to 8:30 p.m. at the Palisade Memorial Community Center at 8th and Main Streets.

Railroad History of Palisade Program

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018 – 7 p.m. at the Palisade United Methodist Church

The next program in the Palisade Reflections series features Matt Darling, a fourth generation, self described railfan presenting the history of Railroads at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 31st at the United Methodist Church located at 365 Main Street in Palisade. This program is free and open to the public.

Darling, the site manager of Cross Orchards, has extensively researched the fascinating history of railroads which faced enormous difficulty building through Colorado’s mountains. He will also explain how that struggle brought the Rio Grande & Colorado Midland railroads to Palisade which were important to our agriculture and coal mining history.

Matt Darling is a dedicated railroad buff and has studied railroad history most of his life. Born in Lafayette, Colorado, he began building scale model trains at age six. He has been a member of the Rio Grande Modeling and Historical Society for over ten years. This program has updated photos and information from his previous program

History Center Closes in January, 2017

We are saddened to announce our museum space in the Palisades National Bank building is no longer available to display interesting items from our collection of photos, documents and artifacts so visitors could quickly learn about Palisade history. Our all volunteer group will continuing fulfilling our mission to preserve and communicate Palisade’s rich history in other ways.

Dedicated volunteers Gary Hines, Ralph Branch, Charlene Weidner, Bruce Walker, Kent Brown and History Dog Gus on moving day. Also packing and preparing for the move were Jaime Cox, Barb Hampton, Dave Cecuga and Priscilla Walker.

We are thankful for the many individuals who appreciate our efforts and offered to help. For the time being everything is in climate-controlled, safe storage while we initiate a fundraising campaign for a permanent home.

In the meantime, we will continue to connect with everyone who appreciates Palisade history through this website, two Facebook pages, and our periodic newsletter to members and the hundreds of others who value our efforts and work to preserve Palisade’s history before it disappears.

We also offer historic guided walking tours at special events, for third-graders at Taylor Elementary and as requested by groups of families. Simply call (970) 464-2177 to schedule a tour for your family or group.

Our printed publications are available at retail outlets locally as well as the Museum of Western Colorado Gift shop, and Out West Books in Grand Junction. The e-book version of our Historical Walking Tour Brochure is at Kindle Books.

Railroad History of Palisade Program

Wednesday, January 25th 2017 – 7 p.m. at the Veteran’s Memorial Community Center in Palisade

The next program in the Palisade Reflections series features Matt Darling, a fourth generation, self described railfan presenting the history of Railroads at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 25th at the Veteran’s Memorial Community Center located at 8th and Main Streets in Palisade. This program is free and open to the public. 

Darling has extensively researched the fascinating history of railroads which faced enormous difficulty building through Colorado’s mountains. He will also explain how that struggle brought the Rio Grande & Colorado Midland railroads to Palisade which were important to our agriculture and coal mining history.

Matt Darling is a dedicated railroad buff and has studied railroad history most of his life. Born in Lafayette, Colorado, he began building scale model trains at age six. He has been a member of the Rio Grande Modeling and Historical Society for over ten years and Also volunteers at the Loyd Files Research Library at the Museums of Western Colorado.



Stop at the History Center for the Art & Chocolate Walk – Sat., Nov. 26th 2016 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Palisade Historical Society’s History Center participated in the Blue Pig Art Gallery’s “Art and Chocolate Walk” on Saturday, November 26th. The History Center, located at 311 South Main Street in downtown Palisade, will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is one of many Palisade stores and vendors which are open and offering free chocolate that day. It is in the heart of Palisade’s art community so you can stroll around and enjoy a vast variety of fine art, gourmet foods, toys, jewelry, and one-of-a-kind gifts.

Pick up a punch card at participating merchants and get it punched at each location to be eligible to win a big gift basket brimming with art and chocolate. Get started on your holiday shopping at this fun event!

Featured displays at the History Center include peach packing and processing equipment, the nearby, former coal mining town of Cameo, and more than 70 years of photos of Palisade High School seniors beginning 110 years ago in 1906. You can also see photos and information about the construction and operation of the iconic “Roller Dam” in DeBeque Canyon.

While at the History Center, you can sign up for one of our Historic Guided Walking Tours which will be offered the following Saturday, December 3rd and 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. during Palisade’s Olde Fashioned Christmas celebration.

Palisade Historical Society Receives CHRAB Grant for Digitizing The Palisade Tribune

The Palisade Historical Society is pleased to announce it received a $5,000 matching grant from the Colorado Historic Records Advisory Board (CHRAB). Along with support from individual donors, the grant money was used to add 843 issues of Palisades’ newspaper to the Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection (CHNC) website. These issues are from 1909-1911 and 1941-1955. Colorado Historic Newspapers

Another reel of microfilmed issues, beginning with the first issue, June 6, 1903, was added to the CHNC site in November 2016. The Palisade Tribune ceased publishing in March 2014.

“We are thrilled to have CHRAB’s continuing support for this wonderful resource of Palisade history,” said Priscilla Walker, chairman of the Palisade Historical Society. CHRAB funding is from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), and National Archives Records Administration.

The CHNC is a service of the Colorado State Library. Its website allows users to search the papers by name or subject, or browse entire pages for articles of interest. The CHNC site has over 200 newspapers with 880,000 pages from Colorado newspapers. The contact for more information about the Colorado Historical Newspaper Collection is Leigh Jeremias at the Colorado State Library  (970) 483-4261.

CHRAB ensures understanding of our state’s past by supporting statewide, the effort to identify, preserve, and promote access to essential historical documentation.

Historical Society Updates Two Kiosk Panels with new Information and Photos

The Palisade Historical Society updated two panels of the information kiosk which was relocated to Independent Park across from the Palisade Post Office earlier this year. The updated panels were installed Wednesday, August 10 by Palisade Public Works Department employees Kevin Burgess, Kelly Green, and Bryan Chavez.

Bryan, Kevin, and Kelly installing the fruit industry panel

We’re grateful the Town and the Palisade Chamber of Commerce allowed us to update the panels, and we appreciate our members and donors who make this financially possible, said Priscilla Walker, chairman of the Palisade Historical Society. “We expect the updated panels will continue to attract visitors and locals interested in knowing more about Palisade’s unique history,” she added.

The updated history panel includes information about Palisade’s early economic development, irrigation history, coal mining, notable people, and inventions. The second panel focuses on Palisade’s agriculture history, marketing cooperatives, the insectary and fruit labels.

“Since the Historical Society began six years ago, we’ve added photos and information which were not available 20 years ago,” Priscilla explained.

Your Sign Company printed the large format digital panels created by Gayle Madden, talented graphic artist who also painted the mural on the restored public restrooms on Main Street last year.

Information resources included Bruce Talbott, Brant Harrison, and Dan Bean from the Palisade Insectary. Photos-in addition to the Historical Society’s collection, are courtesy of the Loyd Files Library, Altrusa Club of Palisade, Palisade Art Lovers (PALS), Danny Williamson, Carolyn Hanson Ford, June Kissell, the Peska Family, and others. Fruit label reproductions are from Bob Crum, Hugh Coachman, Roger Granat, Homer Griffin, and Kokopelli Farm market.

The original kiosk and gazebo were a very visible donation 20 years ago by the Palisade Chamber of Commerce to the Town’s TLC (Trees Lights and Concrete) renovation project to enhance downtown Palisade. The Chamber raised $30,000 to create the kiosk and gazebo which were originally located near the corner of 3rd and Main Streets. To make room for the Town Plaza in 2009, the kiosk and gazebo were removed. A few years later, the kiosk panels and gazebo were combined and displayed near the entrance to Food Town until moved to the current location earlier this year.

The Little Free Library, sponsored by the Altrusa Club of Palisade, was also moved to the relocated kiosk/gazebo and continues to provide free books for the taking.


Photo Restore Round Up – Saturday, May 14, 2016 at the Palisade Library

Bring your old photos to the Palisade Library for scanning and restoration
The Palisade Historical Society and the Palisade Branch Library Auxiliary are sponsoring a photo restoration service for Historic Preservation Month in May. The Photo Restore Round Up will take place on Sat. May 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Palisade Branch Library, 119 West 3rd Street in Downtown Palisade.

Restoration services will be provided by Gayle Madden, Adobe Certified in Photoshop, with over 15 years experience. She is a working member of Operation Photo Rescue, an international group of professionals who help restore photos from around the world that have been damaged by disaster.

Everyone is encouraged to bring damaged or aged photos of personal or local history for professional digital restoration. Photos can be scanned while you wait and originals returned that day. You are encouraged to bring your own storage device, such as a thumb drive or CD, for the digitized photos. A $5 donation to the Historical Society is suggested. For photos needing extensive restoration that can’t be accomplished while you wait, the restored version would be made available later as a jpg via email, or as arranged. For extreme restorations, a larger donation would be appreciated.

As this is Palisade high School’s graduation weekend, please encourage grandparents and out of town guests to bring family photo albums. We’re also very interested in historic Palisade photos if people want to share them for our collection, displays, guided walking tours, and other educational purposes.

The Library Auxiliary maintains a used book sales area at the Library, and will donate proceeds from that day to the Palisade Historical Society. At the Library is the “Hall of History” where historic Palisade photos are displayed. These line the hallway leading to the large conference room where Gayle will do scanning and restoring work. Another tradition at Historical Society and Library Auxiliary events are plenty of delicious homemade cookies.

The Government High Line Canal Newspaper Article Archive 1904-1910 now available!

While researching photographs to commemorate the 100th birthday of the Grand River Diversion Dam’s 100th birthday, a 100 year old scrapbook was uncovered with newspaper clippings about the project and other early irrigation systems.

Newspaper Archive 1904-1910 now available

Volunteer Dr. Hugo Madden worked for three months digitizing, editing, and enhancing the scrapbook into electronic files to archive this amazing find.

These articles, originally in a scrapbook stored at the Grand Valley Water Users’ Association, give you insight into the people and politics which make our life-giving irrigation systems possible.

The result is a 400-page bound edition and a CD which allows you to search. In addition to the articles, there are photographs, a detailed table of contents, and production notes.

For a suggested donation of $25, you can get the 400-page book and the CD from the Palisade Historical Society. Send an email to Gayle Madden – for payment and delivery options. The CD is available for a $5.00 suggested donation if picked up at  The History Center, 311 South Main Street in downtown Palisade, or $10 if mailed.

The Maddens have graciously donated royalties from the publication will benefit the Palisade Historical Society.

100th Birthday Party for the Roller Dam Drew an Overflowing Crowd in June 2015

The birthday party to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the official Congressional dedication of the Grand River Diversion Dam in DeBeque Canyon on June 27th was a rousing success. A crowd of nearly 500 people came to the Palisade Memorial Community Center to hear speakers, including Congressman Scott Tipton, see the “Dam Art Show,” and exhibits with photos and information about the iconic dam, view documentaries, and hear live music. General Manager of the Grand Valley Water Users’ Association Mark Harris was the master of ceremonies. He gave Congressman Tipton Palisade cherries, as congressional appropriations committee members who attended the dedication in 1915 received.

Standing room only for speakers and art show

Other speakers were Ed Warner from the Bureau of Reclamation, Max Schmidt from the Orchard Mesa Irrigation District, and Bill Fitzgerald, great grand-nephew of Palisade’s congressman Wayne N. Aspinall who eloquently spoke about the importance of realizing “water projects like the roller dam are not just ancient history. The dam is living history. It is up to all of us to keep water flowing.”

Nancy Lewis and Arden Blatter of Palisade Art Lovers (PALS) co-chaired the “Dam Art Show” with 43 entries.

Live music included Jeanie Thomas with vintage piano music – and accompaniment for singing “happy birthday” to the Roller Dam – in the morning. The Bookcliff Barbershop Harmony Chorus sang in the afternoon, and “Way Down Yonder,” closed out the day with toe-tapping Bluegrass music.

“The History of Irrigation in Palisade and East Orchard Mesa, Colorado” is now available

A 32-page booklet with photos and information about the history of irrigation water in the Grand Valley is now available from the Palisade Historical Society.  The booklet was created as part of the Palisade Historical Society’s celebration of the 100th birthday of the Grand River Diversion Dam, known as the “Roller Dam.” The official congressional dedication of the Dam was June 29, 1915. This booklet highlights the surprising history of irrigation projects, including many early projects which failed.

Though it began in 1897 and took nearly 20 years to complete,  the Grand Valley Project, which became the Grand River Diversion Dam and Government Highline Canal is the successful solution to turning the Grand Valley into one of the most productive agricultural regions in Colorado and the Intermountain West. The Dam is located eight miles east of Palisade in DeBeque Canyon, and the Government Highline Canal stretches from Palisade to Loma, delivering irrigation water to the Price Ditch, Stub Ditch, and two canals on Orchard Mesa.

Third edition of Historic Palisade Coloring Book underwritten by area Rotary Clubs

The Historic Palisade Coloring Book is in its third printing! The newest version has some changes, primarily to the inside cover to accommodate a new Rotary Club logo and to dedicate it in memory of John Galloway. John, who passed away on June 17, 2014, was a founding director of both the Historical Society and the Sunshine Rotary Club.

Sunrise Rotary Club members present commemorative check to Historical Society. (l to r:) Rotary Club President Scott Holzschuh and members Juliann Adams, and Susie Galloway, Historical Society Chair Priscilla Walker, Vice Chair Bill Beckwith, and Treasurer Doris Butler. Photo courtesy of Jim Cox.

The first edition of the 20 page book was released in July 2011. It features original artwork and historic information about the Palisade area. “The Sunrise Rotary Club has underwritten our printing costs from the beginning, largely because of the efforts of John Galloway,” noted Priscilla Walker, chair of the Historical Society

“We are grateful to have the Rotary Club’s continuing support,” Walker added. The Sunrise Club also enlisted financial support from the Grand Junction Rotary Foundation and the Rotary International District 5470 for the Coloring Bookreprinting project.

The new edition has an ISBN number so the Coloring Book can someday, be on shelves at local libraries Copies are available at Lupita’s Bizarre Bazaar, Too!, the Palisade Library Auxiliary, Varaison Vineyards, Wine Country Inn, and the Palisade Chamber of Commerce. It is also available for a donation from the Palisade Historical Society.

“The Coloring Book was our first publication and has been very popular.” Walker noted. We are especially appreciative of Susie Galloway’s efforts, not only as a member of Rotary, but also as a teacher whose enthusiasm for a prototype inspired us to proceed. She has used it in her classrooms  since 2011,” Walker added.

Thanks to the Rotary Club’s enduring support, it has been provided at no cost to over 1,000 students at Taylor and other elementary schools in the past four years. Although it is aimed at third graders, teachers from second to fifth grades have appreciated using it to enhance the local history curriculum. “It also appeals to adults who have used it to present interesting Palisade history in community and service groups,” Walker added.

Historic Palisade Tribune archives stay in Palisade

Though the community and the Palisade Historical Society were devastated in March 2014 when The Palisade Tribune ceased publishing, we are grateful Grand Junction Media donated archival  issues of The Tribune to the Palisade Historical Society to preserve and digitize.

We purchased archival storage boxes to protect the papers from further deterioration with support from a grant by the Colorado Historical Records Advisory Board. Volunteers worked tirelessly to organize the 5,500 issues and put them in the archival boxes which were moved to a secure, climate-controlled site. We are also working with the Museum of Western Colorado and the Mesa County Library to digitize previously microfilmed issues of The Palisade Tribune.

The outpouring of support and encouragement from people who grew up in Palisade. Though some now live thousands of miles away. We are all deeply concerned about Palisade and the loss of The Palisade Tribune which began publishing 111 years ago on June 6, 1903.

Our sincere thanks to everyone who supported saving the Tribunes, especially the tireless work of Nancy K. Morrison, Syble Seckinger, Lee and Susan Lorenzen Cesario, and former Tribune Publisher, Bob Sweeney, who allowed us to work on the archives in his 124 West Third Street building until it sold in November 2014.

“Coal Mining in Palisade” booklet now available

Coal Mining in Palisade Booklet

This 24-page booklet of photos and information is based on Principal Writer/Researcher, Bennett Young’s programs presented for the Historical Society and additional research. It has become the primary resource for everyone who wants to learn more about Palisade’s coal mining past and the important role it played in the Town’s development. Copies are available at the History Center, 311 South Main Street for a $15 donation, or $10 for members, and at area retail locations, including Lupita’s Bizarre, Bazaar, Too! in downtown Palisade.

New Sidewalk Sign at the History Center

Charlene, Priscilla, Joan and Dave with new sidewalk sign

A new sidewalk sign was unveiled during Peach Fest 2013 Created by local artist, Jennifer Lasley, the attractive, easy to read sign is displayed at Historical Society events.