The March history talk “Then and Now” The History of the Orchard Mesa Irrigation District – will be presented by Jackie Fisher Thursday, the 21st at 6 p.m. at The Ordinary Fellow Winery in Palisade
The March history talk on Thursday, the 21st will be presented by Jackie Fisher, General Manager of the Orchard Mesa Irrigation District. She will detail the interesting history of the OMID which was formed in 1907 and began pumping irrigation water to two canals starting in 1910. Late year, it replaced its 1933 hydro plant with the Vinelands Power Plant. History talks are open to the public at the Ordinary Fellow Winery 202 Peach Avenue in Palisade. It is a relaxed and comfortable setting to learn about Palisade’s unique history and enjoy a glass of wine. The tasting room opens at noon.
The February history talk – “Bright Beads and Rusted Relics: Innovative Archaeology on a 19th Century Ute Indian Site” was presented by Curtis Martin
The January history talk at the Ordinary Fellow Winery on Thursday, the 22nd will be presented by Curtis Martin, principal investigator for the Wickiup Project and author of Ephemeral Bounty: Wickiups, trade Goods and the Final Years of the Autonomous Ute published in 2016.
His work has been studying protohistoric and early historic Ute occupations of Western Colorado. For the February 22 program, he will talk about interesting findings at the McMillen Archaeological site near Delta.
3,753 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 for searching and browsing.
Thanks to generous donors, and support from the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection, 3,753 issues–beginning with the first edition June 6, 1903, and all issues in our collection through December 29, 1978, are now on the Colorado Historic Newspapers and Plains to Peaks newspaper databases! We continue to raise funds to get more of Palisade’s newspaper of record digitized and online. These issues mean the CHNC database now has over four million issues of Colorado newspapers!
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 digitally available on the CHNC site with over 735 individual newspapers titles. 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 January History talk – “The Historic Crissey House” – was presented by its homeowner, JoAnn Rasmussen
The January history talk at the Ordinary Fellow Winery was presented by JoAnn Rasmussen. She gave details about the Crissey family who built the Crissey House in 1908 It is Palisade’s only house on the National and Colorado Historic Registers. Shee shared some of the adventures they faced in rehabilitating a property with 115-year-old apricot trees, and what it means to be an amateur archaeologist in your own home, and why they’d do it all again in a heartbeat.
The December History talk was “Celebrating 80 years of Legacy on the Colorado Plateau” by Ashton Peterhans
Ashton Peterhans, Interpretive Specialist and Contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Legacy Management explained how uranium changed Grand Junction at a critical time in the nation’s history as only U.S. source for uranium for the Manhattan project came from the Colorado Plateau.
She also talked about the current mission of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Legacy Management today. The Atomic Legacy Cabin celebrated its 80th anniversary earlier this year. The Atomic Legacy Cabin has a rich and unique history beginning with the Manhattan Project and leading to the present.
The November history talk was Matt Darling – ‘The Cross Orchards 1918 Model TT and Early Trucks”
Matt Darling, the curator of Cross Orchards, and also author of the Palisade Historical Society’s booklet “The history of Railroads in Palisade, Colorado,” gave the November 16th history talk for the Palisade Historical Society. Darling is not just a railroad buff, so he will present an interesting program about the development of early trucks, and the impact the Model T had on American life. He also showed Betsy, and Mortimer, the vintage orchard hoopies from Palisade at Cross Orchards and keeping the Model TT at Cross Orchards in tip top shape over the years
The October History talk was Dave Fishell – “The Perplexing Plunder of the Palisade Post Office”
Palisade fruit, the Palisade Coal Mine, and the Palisade Post office all played a role in one of the strangest unsolved crimes in Western Colorado. Grand Junction historian and award-winning author Dave Fishell explained the details about the infamous post office robbery in August 1924 when $15,000 of postage stamps and cash were stolen, and the crime was never solved.
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.
September History talk was Bob Silbernagel – “Jim Furgason – From Wild Bunch to Town Marshall”
Palisade resident and history writer Bob Silbernagel talked about Palisade’s Jim Furgason, the Wild Bunch associate who served briefly as Town Marshal of Palisade and is part of a chapter in Bob’s book., “First Draft.” Bob received copies from the publisher that day, and brought to the history talk that night. Autographed copies are now available at the Palisade History Museum with proceeds to benefit the Palisade Historical Society
The talk was even more special because Jim Furgason’s grandson, James and wife, Olga, and great grandsons Robert and James traveled from out of state to attend the program. Bob Silbernagel had been in contact with family members Jim Furgason was a peripheral member of the Wild Bunch which supplied horses and provided a hiding place for the Tipton train robbers. He was briefly Palisade’s Town Marshall from March to September 1905.
August History Talk was Bob Sweeney, former publisher of The Palisade Tribune
For the August history talk, Bob Sweeney, publisher of The Palisade Tribune for two decades from 1992-2012, gave interesting insight into a variety of topics. His roots and love of Western Colorado were evident, as he explained how the size of counties was determined by how far a horse could be ridden in a day,, and why towns were established next to rivers. His view of the evolution and consolidation of newspapers is the good ones will still be successful.
Bob also talked about the importance of supporting non-profits which are essential to accomplish what government cannot do to take care of people.
July History Talk was Steve Schulte who talked about Congressman Wayne Aspinall’s Early Life and Career
Retired CMU history professor Steve Schulte gave an interesting summary of Congressman Wayne N. Aspinall’s early life on July 20th at the Ordinary Fellow Winery. Aspinall grew up in Palisade and was a teacher at Mt. Lincoln and and Palisade schools and practiced law before becoming a politician. Wayne was nicknamed “Palisade Peach” at the University of Denver and served in the Army in both World War I and WWII. He later was a 12 term Congressional Representative from the Western Slope’s 4th District.
Schulte published the book Wayne Aspinall and the Shaping of the American West in 2002 which detailed Aspinall’s political career that encompassed his incredible efforts for water conservation and recreation that shaped the development of the twentieth-century West. It is available from Amazon.
June History Talk was Bruce Talbott – “History of Our Fruit Industry and Where We’re Headed”
A packed audience heard The Palisade Historical Society’s June 22nd history talk by Bruce Talbott, a fifth generation Palisade fruit grower, who shared the history of Colorado’s fruit industry. Fruit growing started in the eastern slope in the 1860s and blossomed in the late 1800s in an attempt to get peaches, especially to the silver mining towns like Leadville where they sold for $1 each. Settlers began building irrigation systems in the Grand Valley in 1883. The height of our local fruit industry was after World War II when home canning was popular and 1.5 million bushels of peaches were shipped from Palisade via refrigerated railroad box cars to Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.
Peaches are still “cool” because they are delicious and only available seasonally. Our local peach industry has rebounded from the severe freeze in 1963 killed half the trees in the valley. Thanks to hard work from local fruit growers and the success of the first ever agricultural Land Trust which saved orchards from development, Colorado has 2,300 acres of peaches, most of which are in Palisade and Palisade growers ship 600,000 bushels of peaches in a good year.
May History Talk was “Colorado River Siphon Celebrates 100 Years”
The Palisade Historical Society’s May 11th history talk was the “Colorado River Siphon Celebrates 100 Years” at the Ordinary Fellow Winery, 202 Peach Avenue. The Colorado River Siphon is a vital part of getting irrigation water to Orchard Mesa. It was completed in May 1923 and today, continues to convey water from the Government Highline Canal under the railroad tracks, Colorado River, and Interstate 70 to the Orchard Mesa Irrigation District’s Power Canal near Rapid Creek. The talk included historic photos of the siphon’s construction and Michelle Urbach from the OMID answered questions about the siphon and current operations.
April History Talk was “The Colorado Historical Newspaper Collection: Reading Yesterday’s News Online Today”
The Palisade Historical Society’s April history talk was “Reading Yesterday’s News, Online Today.” Leigh Jeremias, Digital Collections Senior Colorado Consultant at the Colorado State Library, showed key features, tips, and informative tricks for searching the Colorado Historical Newspaper Collection (CHNC) and other newspapers. The 3.1 million pages of the CHNC database are freely available and hold information about past people, places, and events. This important community history is often not recorded in any other source for students, teachers, genealogists, and general researchers. Included in the CHNC database are 3,347 issues of The Palisade Tribune. Also celebrated was the 100th anniversary of the founding of the United Fruit Growers’ Association which started in April 1923. A 100th birthday cake from the Slice O Life Bakery was a tasty treat for those who attended the talk. the Ordinary Fellow Winery is located in a building the United Fruit Growers’ Association built in 1977 and shipped fruit from through the 2000 harvest.
March History Talk was “Legends of the Grand Mesa” Video
The March history talk at the Ordinary Fellow Winery was The Grand Valley Magazine Film and Video Program “Legends of the Grand Mesa” produced in 2015. It was shown to a standing-room only audience at The Ordinary Fellow Winery on Thursday, March 23rd at 6 p.m. Directed by then Museums of the West’s David Bailey, the video features the iconic thunderbird symbol and other legends from interviews with Palisade’s John Lindstrom and Ute Indian Museum Director C. J. Brafford.
“Lining the Government Canal” was the history program on February 16th
The Palisade Historical Society’s February history talk at The Ordinary Fellow Winery included historic and current work to line the Government highline Canal. Initial work to cement the canal bottom and sides was done by Palisade’s Civilian Conservation Corp workers in the late 1930s. Tina Bergonzini, General Manager of the Grand Valley Water Users Association, presented photos and information about the success of current lining methods which use GPS guided equipment and PVC membrane. Lining just 6,120 feet of the canal near Palisade controls 3,083 tons of salt from ending up in the Colorado River each year and saves another 2,829 acre feet per year of water lost to seeping from the canal.
Holly “Sonny ” Shelton presented “A Bison Tale” on January 19th
The Palisade Historical Society’s January history talk at The Ordinary Fellow Winery was Thursday, the 19th when Holly “Sonny” Shelton presented her work with the Dominguez Archaeological Research Group to collect data that expand our knowledge of human/bison interaction specific to Western Colorado. She also had a display of bison bones and other artifacts that delighted an enthusiastic audience.
Gary Hines presented a Pictorial Tour of Downtown Palisade on December 15th
The December history talk at The Ordinary Fellow Winery was “Downtown Palisade Center Pictorial Tour.” Gary Hines presented “then and now” photos of the Town Center. Gary normally gives guided walking tours of historic downtown Palisade, but this tour was easier, as everyone sat comfortably in a chair where it was warm inside the Winery and saw how downtown buildings have changed over the years.
Curtis Martin presented “Ute Indians of Colorado and their Prehistoric Ancestors” for November’s history talk
Curtis Marin’s November history talk to an audience that filled the room of The Ordinary Fellow Winery was “Ute Indians of Colorado and their Prehistoric Ancestors.” He is the author of Ephemeral Bounty Wickiups, Trade Goods and the Final Years of the Autonomous Ute published in 2016, and showed detailed photos of his work.
Curtis has been the Principal Investigator of the Wickiup Project since 2004 which was awarded the Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation in 2014. Curtis recently retired from teaching archeology at Colorado Mesa University. He presented a program on Ute Indians for the Palisade Historical Society in April 2012.
“The History of Wine – Part 2” was the October 20th history talk.
The 11th program in the series of history talks at The Ordinary Fellow Winery was Priscilla Walker who presented the “History of Wine in Palisade – Part 2” It detailed the interesting history of our grape growing and wine making industry in which Palisade has 34 of the State’s 170 wineries and most of the 800 acres of grapes. Ron Bracken, grandson of Danny Bracken who was one of the heroes of the modern era grape industry in Palisade, shared interesting stories about planting grape vines and tending the family vineyard as a youngster.
History talk by Bob Sweeney, former Palisade Tribune Publisher was August 18th
For the August history talk, Bob Sweeney, publisher of The Palisade Tribune for two decades from 1992-2012, gave an insider’s knowledge about Colorado newspapers and his entrepreneurial career in publishing. He is the founder of the Craig Daily Press and The Villager, a weekly paper in Arapahoe County, and currently also publishes the Gilpin County Weekly Register-Call, the oldest newspaper in Colorado, founded in 1862.
“Palisade in 1922 with Mayor C. Bower” was Thursday, July 21st
Another program in the series of history talks at the Ordinary Fellow Winery will be what Palisade was like 100 years ago. Historical Society volunteer Dave Cecuga has extensively research the Town of Palisade articles in archival issues of The Palisade Tribune. In the persona of Palisade pioneer “Colonel Bower,” Dave will explain what visitors would have experienced when Colonel Bower was the mayor in 1922.
“The History of Riverbend Park” was Thursday, June 23rd
Another program in the series of history talks at The Ordinary Fellow Winery was the history of Riverbend Park which is located south of Palisade between the Colorado river and the Grand Valley Canal. Currently home to Palisade’s many festivals, it has a fascinating history.
Over the years, it offered creative solutions for Palisade’s agriculture labor needs. The talk included new photos of the inside of the CCC Camp barracks in 1938 where German Prisoners of War stayed for peach harvest in 1944. It also includes details of the Migrant Labor Camp located more than a mile west of the CCC Camp. It had 200 cabins for families and operated during fruit harvests from 1941 to 1961.
May history talk – “The History of Wine in Palisade” – featured Gerald Ivancie’s children
Another program in the series of history talks at the Ordinary Fellow Winery was about the interesting history of our grape growing and wine making industry. The program featured insights from Gerald Ivancie’s children, Liz Kennedy and Steve Ivancie. Gerald Ivancie and his wife, Mary, owned one of Colorado’s first modern commercial wineries, Ivancie Cellars, in Denver. Wanting to save shipping costs for grapes from California, he introduced Western Colorado to its modern phase of Vinifera grape growing.
The “Colorado Peaches” video was shown in April at The Ordinary Fellow Winery
The popular 30 minute video created in the early 1950s by the Denver & Rio Grande Western railroad and the Peach Board of Control. “Colorado Peaches” was the centerpiece of the April 14th program at 6 p.m. The Ordinary Fellow Winery located at 202 Peach Avenue in Downtown Palisade.
The video illustrates details on how Palisade peaches were processed and especially, how ice was loaded into refrigerated box cars to keep the fruit fresh for weeks long shipping to the Midwest. The talk is open to the public and will begin at 6 p.m. The Ordinary Fellow Winery tasting room opens at noon and B&C BBQ food truck will be onsite at 4:30 with food available for purchase, so you can come early to get a good seat.
The Ordinary Fellow Winery is a relaxed and comfortable setting to learn about Palisade’s unique history and enjoy a glass of wine.
“The History of Railroads in Palisade, Colorado” by Matt Darling was the March history talk
The program presented by the Palisade Historical Society at the Ordinary Fellow Winery – 202 Peach Avenue in Palisade on Thursday, March 24th at 6 p.m. was Matt Darling, Curator of Cross Orchards who is a fourth generation self-described railfan, who presented “The History of Railroads in Palisade, Colorado.” The program is open to the public, and autographed copies of his book by the same title which is published by the Palisade Historical Society, will be available for donation at the talk.
“Coal Mining and Miners” was The Ordinary Fellow Winery history talk in February
The program presented by the Palisade Historical Society at the Ordinary Fellow Winery – 202 Peach Avenue in Palisade February 24th was about Palisade’s coal mines and miners. There were a dozen coal mines in the Palisade area and it was an important party of our economy – especially in the first half of the 20th Century.
History Talk on “The History of Irrigation in Palisade: Waters for the Valley” was in January
The January program in a series of half-hour talks about Palisade history at the Ordinary Fellow Winery – 202 Peach Avenue in downtown Palisade – was Thursday, January 20th at 6 p.m. Gary Hines presented “The History of Irrigation in Palisade: Waters for the Valley,” which provides the historical perspective about irrigation which is vital to agriculture and life in the Grand Valley. The discussion highlighted the successes and failures of early irrigation attempts, all of which led to today’s efficient and essential irrigation systems. Gary has a special connection to irrigation history as this grandfather Carver was caretaker of the 106 year old Grand River Diversion Dam in DeBeque Canyon for 33 years. He shared his knowledge of the construction and operation of this iconic “Roller Dam.”
“As we learned from the first history talk, the Ordinary Fellow Winery is a relaxed and comfortable setting for people to learn about Palisade’s unique history and enjoya glass of wine,” Gary said. As there isn’t food available until March or April when their permanent food truck will be onsite, people can bring food to the program.
First History Talk at The Ordinary Fellow Winery was “The History of Fruit and Wine – Part 1” in December
The first in a series of half-hour talks about Palisade history at the Ordinary Fellow Winery – 202 Peach Avenue in downtown Palisade -was Thursday, December 9th at 6 p.m. Priscilla Walker presented information about how Palisade has produced the best-tasting peaches for over 130 years. Additional information about how Palisade also became the center of Colorado’s wine industry will be presented in June.
“We’re thrilled by the newest Palisade winery’s interest in local history,” Priscilla said. “Their location is in the heart of Palisade’s fruit processing and shipping
facilities since the 1890s.” Buildings on the north side of the railroad tracks in downtown Palisade included the first Palisade fruit cooperative, and for 77 years, the United Fruit Growers’ Association which was formed in 1923. The Ordinary Fellow Winery building was built in 1977 after UFGA’s wooden platforms in the same location burned. Peaches continued to be shipped by the UFGA from this location until 2002.
Palisade Welcomes New History Museum
Grand opening week was August 16-20, 2021
The Palisade Historical Society renovated the log building at 3740 G Road in Palisade to create Palisade’s first History Museum! It opened in May 2021 on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and the ribbon cutting and official dedication was August 18, 2021 in the Grand Opening Week. Invited guests to the ribbon cutting ceremony which honored major donors and volunteers enjoyed touring the History Museum with snacks and beverages from GJ Fusion Food truck and music from pianist James Baird from 4 to 7 p.m.. The Museum was open all week to the public and drew locals and tourists who enjoyed the many exhibits about Palisade’s unique agriculture and coal mining history.
Owners of the building, Kirk and Cyndy Bunte gave the Palisade Historical Society a long-term, low cost lease. Built in 1939 by Kirk’s grandfather, George Bunte, Jr., the location is on the U.S. 6 north frontage road just east of Elberta Avenue, within walking distance of Riverbend Park and two area schools. It is highly accessible to both locals and visitors to Palisade year-round.
George Bunte, Jr. was born in 1911 and grew up in Palisade. He was a fruit grower and headquartered his Grand Junction palisade Freight Lines trucking business in the log building which he called his “Shop.” George was active in many community organizations and served as Mesa County Assessor from 1966-1978.; he passed away in 1988.
George’s only grandchild, Kirk, also grew up in Palisade. “Cyndy and I are very happy to provide the Palisade Historical Society with a permanent home,” said Kirk Bunte. “Members of my family have resided in Palisade since 1910 and I’m positive if they were still with us, they would support this effort. The Bunte property has been through dramatic changes in the last one hundred years and it is wonderful to see part of it preserved for future generations. This new use of the building as a museum will greatly benefit both residents and visitors,’ he continued.
“The Bunte family has contributed much to Palisade’s unique history and we are thrilled to have their support,” Historical Society Founding Chair Priscilla Walker added.
The Historical Society has been looking for a home to secure Palisade’s interesting history since January 2017. Among its most popular collections are thousands of historic photos, memorabilia from the Cameo Mercantile, and from Palisade’s long time U.S. Congressman Wayne N. Aspinall. Other interesting items are vintage fruit box labels, and a photo display featuring 75 years of Palisade High School senior class members starting in 1906. The Society serves as archivist for The Palisade Tribune which was Palisade’s local newspaper from June 1903 until 2014.
ABOUT THE PALISADE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
The Palisade Historical Society was incorporated in March 2010 and is a 501 (c) (3) non profit organization with the mission to collect, preserve, and communicate the unique history of Palisade, Colorado, and to foster, encourage, stimulate, and develop public appreciation of this history.
The Historical Society has published four booklets with photos and information about the history of coal mining, irrigation, railroads, and fruit and wine in Palisade. The Historic Palisade Coloring Book is in its fourth printing and is used in local elementary schools for the local history curriculum. The Historical Society has digitized 2,650 issues of The Palisade Tribune which are accessible in the Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection database for research and browsing.
Palisade Historical Society called attention to the Valley’s vital irrigation history by hosting a 100th birthday celebration for the Grand River Diversion Dam – the “Roller Dam” in DeBeque Canyon – in June 2015. Further, the organization creates presents historical programs, videos, and displays, and offers guided walking torus of historic downtown Palisade. It has also collected oral histories of long-time Palisade residents in video and written summary formats.
The Palisade Historical Society has 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 available at the Palisade History Museum, and Harlow’s shop on Main Street in Palisade. Also, our publications are at Out West Books on Main Street and, the Museums of Western Colorado gift shop on Ute Avenue in Grand Junction, as well as the Lithic Bookstore and Gallery in Fruita.
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 available at the rack below the Historic Downtown Palisade sign on 3rd Avenue, and across 3rd Street at the Palisade Library. 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.
Historic Guided Walking Tours –
The Palisade Historical Society offered our popular guided walking tours of downtown Palisade during Olde Fashioned Christmas on Saturday, December 7. 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.
News from the Past:
“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.
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.
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.
USED BOOK SALE, HOMEMADE COOKIES AND HALL OF HISTORY
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.
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 – email@example.com 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.
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.
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.
The booklet is used as a textbook at Palisade High school and is available at the Palisade Chamber of Commerce office, at Out West Books on Main Street in Grand Junction, and the Lithic Bookstore in Fruita.
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.
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 enuring 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
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 the Palisade Chamber of Commerce, at Out West Books on Main Street in Grand Junction, and the Lithic Bookstore in Fruita. It is used as a textbook at Palisade High School.