Western history

Celebrating General Palmer

Pikes Peak Library District has published a new book, entitled “Legends, Labors, and Loves: William J. Palmer, 1836-1909”. This book is a compilation of essays from several authors about various aspects of Palmer’s life, including my chapter about young Palmer’s travels abroad. This is a wonderful resource for anybody with an interest in the fascinating life of this important Colorado railroad pioneer. I’ve been devouring it, considering my special interest in the subject with a Palmer biography in the works for the “Now You Know Bio” series from Filter Press. Most previous books on the subject are quite dated. This one provides fresh insights and additional material about General Palmer. PPLD performed their usual outstanding job not only in publishing the volume, but in presenting it last week at a magical reception in the 1905 Carnegie Room of Penrose Library in Colorado Springs on the exact date of the 100th anniversary of Palmer’s death. Raymond Purl portrayed Palmer in a wonderful performance to the delight of the standing room only crowd. Authors who contributed to the compilation mingled with the audience and happily signed books.

Tomorrow, we return to Colorado Springs to observe a re-enactment of General Palmer’s funeral. A procession will parade down Pikes Peak Boulevard, ending at Evergreen Cemetery for a ceremony. I am not sure what to expect, but I am hoping for a photo op complete with horses and hearses. A lecture will follow at the Pioneers Museum for the opening of the new exhibit there. The event is not only totally booked, but the waiting list is overbooked. Palmer history thrives in Colorado Springs.

Joyce Lohse, 3/20/09