The Palisade Historical Society announced today details for the Saturday, June 27th 100th birthday celebration for the Grand River Diversion Dam, located eight miles east of Palisade in DeBeque Canyon. The 100th birthday event for the iconic dam, locally known as the “Roller Dam” because of its unique design, will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Veteran’s Memorial Community Center at 8th and Main Streets in Palisade.

Featured activities include a “Dam Art Show” from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with dam-themed works for sale by local artists, and continuous showings of documentaries about the Roller Dam and Colorado River also from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. that day. One documentary, “How the West Was Watered,” from Larry Seibert (InFilms & Design, Inc.) and his longtime associate, video photographer and editor, Scot Stewart, includes the history of the Grand Valley Diversion Dam. Another documentary, “Water in the Desert” from the CMU Water Center and Gen 9 Productions, explores the evolving relationship of the Grand Valley and the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers.

Speakers start at 10:00 with Master of Ceremonies Mark Harris, General Manager of the Grand Valley Water Users’ Association. Other speakers include Ed Warner from the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Congressman Scott Tipton, Bill Fitzgerald, great-grand nephew of Wayne N. Aspinall who grew up in Palisade and served in Congress from 1949 until 1973, and others who have connections to the Roller Dam and its interesting history. The Palisade Art Lovers will also announce winners of the “Dam Art Show.”

Following the speakers will be the ceremonial cutting of the Slice ‘O’ Life Bakery’s specially created “dam” birthday cake by Dorothy Carver Hines who grew up at the Roller Dam when her father, John Earl Carver, was caretaker of the Dam for one-third of its 100 years.

Music at the celebration will begin at 9 a.m. with Jeanie Thomas playing vintage music. The Bookcliff Harmony Barbershop Chorus will sing at 1 p.m. and Bluegrass band, Way Down Yonder, will play at3 p.m. Its lead guitarist, Carroll Quarles, was also featured in a music video, “That DAM Water Keeps US Green” produced by Maggie Fellman of littlemargie productions to highlight the importance of the Roller Dam to our life and agriculture economy in the Grand Valley. “Irrigation water is the lifeblood of the Grand Valley, and we’re pleased to shine a light on this historic, wonderful dam which has successfully used Colorado River water to grow food locally for the last 100 years,” said Priscilla Walker, chairman of the Palisade Historical Society.  “Since the official congressional dedication of the Dam was June 29, 1915 when members of the Congressional Appropriations Committee were present, we’re pleased Congressman Tipton can join us for the festivities,” she added.

In addition to the Palisade Historical Society’s  display of historic photographs and information about the Roller Dam’s design and construction, other information booths at this fun and free event include  the Bureau of Reclamation, CMU Water Center, Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program, and Luke Gingerich, PE, Water Engineer from Olsson Associates.

This celebration is being hosted by the Palisade Historical Society in cooperation with Grand Valley Water Users Association, which has operated the Diversion Dam since 1949, the Bureau of Reclamation, Palisade Irrigation District, Orchard Mesa Irrigation District, and Mesa County Irrigation District─as well as the Grand Valley Drainage District.

LINKS:     facebook: Grand-River-Diversion-Dam-Celebrates-100-Years-1915-2015

The mission of the Palisade Historical Society is to collect, preserve, and communicate the unique history of Palisade, Colorado, and to foster, encourage, stimulate, and develop public appreciation of this history. It has been a non-profit organization since March 2010.