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Palisade History

Learn About Palisade

Palisade was named for the austere and dramatic palisades of Mancos Shale north of town. The sculptured appearance was formed by the uplifting of the area combined with localized erosion and the downcutting of the Colorado River.

About 75 million years ago, the Mesa Verde Group sands were stripped from the mountains in Utah and built up as beach sand and river beds as the Mancos sea retreated. The Mesa Verde group is also known for its thick layers of coal.


The first inhabitants of the Grand Valley were Ute Indians, followed by white settlers who began arriving in 1881.

By 1894, the first peach, pear, apple and grape orchards appeared in the area now known as the Vinelands. The soil was rich but rainfall was scarce, so barrels of water were hauled by wagons from the river to water young trees.


In 1913 the US Reclamation began construction of a system of irrigation canals to support agricultural efforts. Water from a 480 ft wide roller dam across the Colorado River diverts water into the 80 miles of irrigation canals which comprise the Highline Canal and Price and Stub Ditches.

The local climate is often referred to as "The Banana Belt." The mild climate and unique terrain create near-perfect peach and grape growing conditions. Winds moving through Debeque Canyon are compressed and warmed to prevent crop killing frosts in the spring. As the winds move down valley further west it spreads out and its warming effect is diminished. The climate, a 182-day growing season, and an average 78% of sunshine makes Palisade "The Peach Capital."

Palisade History in Pictures captures some of the flair and the tremendous success of early Palisade settlers. Many of the pictures on the site date from the 1890s and are presented "as is" with no enhancements or restoration. Whenever possible, people in the pictures are identified although we do not guarantee complete accuracy.


For more information, visit the websites of the Town of Palisade and Palisade Historical Society.



Mr. and Mrs. R.H. Bancroft with Roland and Fairy  

Mr. and Mrs. R. H. Bancroft with Rowland and Fairy.



Early Women Settlers of Palisade   Early Women Settlers of Palisade
Front Row
Mrs. Gauham, Dosephine Nostrand, Mrs.Latson, Florence Toothaker, Mrs.Snyder, ?, Mrs. Martin (Clint Martin's mother).
Back Row
Lucille Hampton ?, Mrs. Jessie J. Hampton, Mrs. Jess Stoner, Mrs. J. B. Anderson (Emma Echternach's mother), Mrs. Sarah Cave, Mrs. Denton, Mrs. Hays (Yvonne Hays' mother), Fannie Applegate, ?, Mrs. Reed, Mrs. Reasoner, Mrs. Belt, Mrs. Potter.

Palisade People  

Lige Jordon, left, with Mr. Redder on donkey. Mr. Kluge and Mr. F. E. Port are to the right.


Dave Wigner   Dave Wigner - Construction Engineer on many projects in the valley. Family opened and operated the Wigner mine. Lived in Palisade 1896 - 1927.


Mr. Potter's Funeral  

Funeral, C. Bower in center front. Believed to be Mr. Potter's Funeral.



First City Council Meeting   First Palisade Town Board Meeting, May 1904.
Left to right: D.M. Landreth, Dr. G.R. Brown, C.H. Martin, (clerk), Mayor Herman Kluge, W.A. Powell, George W. Sawade, John A. Pierson and William E. Bell.

Frank Berger  

Frank Berger/ Pioneer, County Commissioner.


1918 Palisade Fire Department   Fire Department in Palisade, 1918, Fire House III.

Main Street Palisade  

Early days of Palisade. Main street looking south.

1912 Ice Wagon  

Ice Wagon about 1912. Jim McKay in the rear.



East Main Street, Palisade   East side of Main Street, 1909.

Jordan's Inn   Jordan's Inn, E. W. Jordan, Proprietor. Across from Post Office, corner of Third and Main.

Hugus & Co. Store   Hugus & Co. Store.
Paul Rice, Rowland Bancroft, girl unknown.

Early Day Cameo

  Early day Cameo.

Oil Drilling  

Oil Drilling in Vineland, 1906.



Palisade School, 7th Grade, 1921  

Palisade School, 7th grade, 1921


Left to Right

Back Row: Cowgill, Alta Mitchell, Lovene Coleman, Ruth Hill Woods, Vivian Donaldson, Edda Slattory, Beatrice Ross, Annie Sukey

Middle Row: True Bunte Watkins, Edna ?, Annamae Munns, ?, Helen Schneible, ?, Mabel Asmussen - Teacher
Bottom Row: Harvey Cohail, Oliver Lockhart, Keith Eyer, Fred Sayer, ?, Glen Blackstone, Medley Gearhaart, Morrie Sixbey

1900's Palisade School   Palisade School, 1900s, Teachers Miss Stella Van Cleve & Miss Clara Ball.

1900's Palisade School


Palisade School, about 1900, Beulah Van Baren. 

Left Row - Bessie Powell, Chas Bowman, Grace McKay, Levi Clark, Dana Potter, Denny Pearson, Charles Kelio
2nd Row - Clarence Bond, ?, Lucille Hampton, Earl Wister, Irene Parton, Phil Bower
3rd Row - Inez Kileo ,?, Stella Scroggins, Louie Parton, Mary Rogers, Axel Spitler, Ben Donaldson, Bessie Powell
4th Row - Erwin Hampton, Hannah Gearson, Mable McKay, Edith Lloyd, ?, ? Kitson.

Palisade Schoolroom   Schoolroom in early Palisade.


Palisade High School  

Palisade High School. Aug. 1900
Pro. Thompson, R. H. Bancroft, C. Bower.




A. R. Loyds Orchards   A. R. Lloyd Orchards. About 1900.


Early day fruit stand.

Grand Valley Headgate


Building of Grand Valley Headgate, South of Palisade. 1883.

Peach Queen of 1921


Peach Queen of 1921 Juanita Strong.

Attendants seated: Mary Edith McKay, Dorothy Echternach, Dorothy Nuckols,
Standing Left to Right Helen Swisher, Mary Mosier, Ruth Wolfe, Jo Schniebel, Agnes Ever.
Taken on 5th St. between Sroaf's and Christian Parsonage.

Digging of Highline Canal


Digging of High Line Canal. A. M. Echternach house in background.


First Train of Elberta Peaches Shipped from Palisade

  First train of Elberta peaches shipped from Palisade. Train pulled 20 carloads.

Swing Bridge

  Ferry and first bridge across Colorado River from East end of 4th St. To Vineland. This bridge was a swing bridge.

Suspension Bridge over Grand (Colorado) River


Suspension Bridge over the Grand (Colorado) River.

State Bridge


State Bridge east of Palisade near Interstate Bridge.

Completion of Road to Alexander Lakes


Celebrating the completion of road to Alexander Lakes for auto travel.




First Uniformed Band

  First Uniformed Band in Palisade, about 1904 or 1905.
Clint Martin - Director, John Donston, Manager.

Iowa Day, 1911


Iowa Day about 1911. Looking south with Jordon Inn at Right.

Needlecraft Club, 1910

  Needlecraft Club meeting east of Cameo 1910
Mrs. H. L. Davis, Mrs. Billy Hiatt, Station Agents' wife, Mrs. R. E. Green, Mrs. Dr. Brown, Mrs. Jenkins, Mrs. Updegraph, Mrs. H. H. Younger, Mildred Younger, and two Updegraph boys.

Methodist Church


Original Methodist Church.

Palisade Celebration


Palisade celebration.



Palisade Ball Team


Palisade Ball Team vs. Indian Ball Team from Teller Institute, Grand Junction, Co 1902 or 1903. The Teller Institute (Indian School) now the Regional Center

Left to Right: Superintendent of the Teller Institute, E. F. (Mont) Reed, Preston, Olds, Herman Kluge, Pearl Dunston, Earl Cannam, Guy Cannam, Charlie Reed, August Kuhelenbeck - Manager.
Front - All the Indian Team from the Teller Institute.
House in the background is the Muluihill Ranch Home.

Alexander Lakes


Alexander Lakes, 1898.

Stagecoach Trail, 1912


Hike Up Old "Stagecoach Trail" east of Palisade - 1912 

Left to Right: May Stokes, Mary Rait, Kate Phillips Wills, Edna Wiggins, Mabel Eyer Asmusser, Minnie Loe Groner, Ellen Wiggins McRae, Nellie Bricker Devoe.

Skating on the Grand Valley Canal


Skating on the Grand Valley Canal in January.

Palisade Boys Team, 1909


1909 Palisade Boys Baseball Team.



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