Guided walking tours, History Center displays announced

View the Grand Valley Diversion Dam Documentary – Thursday, Aug. 14, 5 to 7 p.m.

 Take Guided Walking Tours Friday, Aug. 15, 10:30 a.m.

and 12:30 p.m.                  

The Palisade Historical Society will premiere a documentary film about the “Roller Dam” on Aug. 14 during the annual Peach Festival.

The premier is the start of the Historical Society’s countdown to next year’s 100th anniversary of the Grand River Diversion Dam (“Roller Dam”), located east of Palisade, Priscilla Walker, chair of the society’s board, announced.

The documentary will be will be shown continuously between 5 and 7 p.m. on Thursday, August 14, at Canyon View Church, 3rd and Main Street, in downtown Palisade.

Canyon View is across the street from the Palisade Peach Festival ice cream social which will be held about the same time in the Town Plaza.  The festival, Aug. 14, 15, 16, and 17, is sponsored by the Palisade Chamber of Commerce.

The documentary was created by Larry Seibert (InFilms & Design, Inc.) and his longtime associate, video photographer and editor, Scot Stewart.

Dam construction

In addition to the documentary, the society’s “mobile museum” exhibit will be on display during the premiere.  It contains never-before-seen photos and information detailing the construction of the Diversion Dam, known locally as the “Roller Dam.”  The official Congressional Dedication of the Dam was June 29, 1915.

The showing of the documentary and display of the “mobile museum” is the first event planned by the Historical Society to mark the 100th anniversary of the dam.

Over the next year, the documentary will be shown and the mobile exhibit will be on display at the Palisade History Center, 311 South Main Street.   The mobile exhibit describes why the Roller Dam makes life in the Grand Valley possible.

Guided walking tours

During Peach Festival, the History Center will be open on Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Saturday during the parade, which starts at 9 a.m.; and during the Palisade Sunday Market, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

On Friday, Aug. 15, the Historical Society will also offer guided walking tours of Downtown Palisade at 10:30 a.m. and at 12:30 p.m. Reservations can be made in advance by calling (970) 464-2177.  Routes and more information can be seen at index.php/historic-guided-walking-tours/.  A $5 donation is suggested for adults.

The Guided Walking Tours are led by Historical Society members and start and end at the History Center, which is located in the former Palisades National Bank Building. Each tour explores a different part of downtown with details buildings, people, and events of Palisade’s past.

John Lindstrom, who portrays Grand Valley pioneer “George Crawford,” leads an hour-long tour which provides a comprehensive overview of the Palisade area, including archaeological, prehistory, and economic perspectives.

“An Hour with Colonel Bower” tour is led by Dave Cecuga, who is in character as Palisade pioneer Colonel C.C. Bower. Dave’s route is Third Street from the Post Office to Bower Avenue.

Charlene Weidner leads a 50 minute “Town Center” tour of historic sites, businesses, and early family histories along Main Street, First Street, and Kluge Avenue.

The longest tour is a 55 minute tour called “Fire and Brimstone.”  It is led by Priscilla Walker, and features locations of several fire sites—including the cannery and packing sheds—and seven church locations.  Topics in the tours include early Palisade development, historic homes, and points of interest along a route surrounding downtown Palisade.

In addition to the Guided Walking Tour on Friday, a self-guided walking tour brochure is available at local businesses and in the brochure rack in front of the Palisade Chamber of Commerce.  The brochure provides interesting and historic views of Palisade “which you can look at on your own schedule,” Walker noted.  The brochure is made possible by the generosity of the Palisade Lions Club.

Walker said, “If you are interested in volunteering for the Palisade Historical Society’s Peach Fest activities, please contact Joan Forrey at (970) 234-0424 for more information.”

History Center exhibits

Walker pointed out on-going exhibits at the History Center.  A Fruit Box Label display in the front window at the History Center features Western Slope brands, including recent donations from Hugh Coachman, a long time marketer of Palisade peaches. These vintage paper labels were the brands developed by growers and marketing cooperatives like the Mountain Lion Brand, United Fruit Growers, Indian Rock, Mesa Pride, and Paonia’s Union Fruit Co. The colorful labels –some dating back to the early 1900s–were pasted to the ends of wooden boxes to create more attention to their fruit.

Displays at the History Center also include Palisade High School class photos from1906 to 1954, peach processing equipment and memorabilia, a timeline of important events in Palisade History from 1881 to 2014, and a video, “Palisade in 1904,” created for the town’s CEN-TEN (110th year) anniversary.

Also on display are personal items used by Wayne Aspinall, Palisade’s long-time U.S. Congressman.  Also, see items depicting Cameo, a former coal mining town three miles from Palisade in DeBeque Canyon.  A coal fired electric power plant there has been dismantled, and now planning is underway for development of a sports shooting range at the Cameo site.


The Palisade Historical Society was incorporated in March 2010.  It is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. 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.  For information, see:

“Everyone is invited to become a member of the Palisade Historical Society, volunteer on committees, and make a tax-deductible donation,” Walker said.  Annual memberships start at $25.00 for individuals, $50 for families, $100 for businesses, and $500 for patrons. Please make checks payable to the Palisade Historical Society, and mail them to P.O. Box 631, Palisade, CO  81526.

     Compliments to Renee Gibson, Casual Gal Silversmith, for inscribing the Historical Society name on the door.     Photo by Bill Hoffmann.