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Town View c1910


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Main Street c1940


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Palisade, CO
Elevation 4,739 feet.
Population 855 (c1920).
Denver 437 miles.

Palisade was named for the 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.

The first inhabitants of the Grand Valley were the Utes. They were followed by settlers who began arriving in l881. By l894, 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 l913 the US Reclamation Service 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 wind moves down valley to the 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".

The railroad facilities include storage and handling platforms for shipping the agricultural products produced in the valley. An Ice House and several storage tracks were once active.


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Palisade rail yard 1919


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