The 1880s

The Ute Indians were forcibly removed from the Grand Valley in September 1881, though white settlers were probably living in the area and envisioned the potential of the rich agricultural area, once irrigation water was available. Early orchards were planted next to water sources. In the Palisade area, J.P. Harlow planted crops in Rapid Creek east of Palisade at the mouth of DeBeque Canyon. The earliest irrigation canal, the Grand Valley Canal, built in 1883, did not serve Palisade and the “Poverty Flats” area east of town, now known as  Vineland. Consequently, water to Palisade orchards had to be hauled from the river in barrels with horse-drawn wagons. The other important economic driver in the Palisade area was coal mining from a dozen mines in two coal seams. The biggest deposit was in nearby Cameo–three miles east of Palisade–in DeBeque Canyon.