Tag Archives: William Palmer

Historic Treasure in Montrose

Sometimes as I explore Colorado, I stumble across a historic treasure. A few weeks ago, while visiting Grand Junction on the West Slope, I drove south in search of history and new outlets for my books. In Montrose, about an hour from Junction, I was drawn into a museum on a side street by an impulse fondly recognized by writers and researchers as serendipity.

Housed in a restored Denver & Rio Grande railroad station was a wonderful collection of artifacts from Colorado history. Deb Barr welcomed me inside while sharing her knowledge and passion for area history and other things. She wears many hats in the community, from museum curator, to reporter, to clerk, to jazz singer. She was pretty excited to learn about my latest title, “General William Palmer: Railroad Pioneer”, founder of the D&RG Railroad. The book is now for sale in the museum gift shop, a fine collection of items pertaining to area history.

This little museum is not to be missed. If you are in the area with little time on your hands, at least step inside the depot and gift shop. The museum, which operates independently, is well-deserving of support and attention from history buffs. It is open until mid-October before closing for the winter. Watch for gift shop events in the winter.

Montrose County Historical Museum
21 North Rio Grande
open mid-May through mid-October
Monday through Friday 10 AM – 4 PM
Saturday 10 AM – 2 PM

— Joyce Lohse, 9/25/09

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 25, 2009 in Western history


Tags: , , , ,

A Colorado Castle

Last Monday, I had the good fortunate to visit Glen Eyrie Castle in Colorado Springs for a private tour. Our guide was Len Froisland, 25-year historian for the castle. Women Writing the West members Dianne Hartshorn, who portrays Queen Palmer around C. Springs, and publisher Doris Baker of Filter Press completed our group.

General William Palmer, founder of Colorado Springs and the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, originally built Glen Eyrie in 1872 when he married his wife, Mary Lincoln Mellon, known as “Queen”, a nickname since childhood. The house was restored in 1881, and again, beginning in 1902, when it took on the appearance of a stone castle. Palmer’s instruction to architects was to build a home that would endure for a thousand years. After one hundred years, the house has done very well. Currently, it is owned by the Navigators, a Christian organization, which maintains and utilizes the property as a retreat and conference center, with facilities open to the public for afternoon tea, bed and breakfast, and tours.

The house is remarkable. Inside, custom woodwork was used to decorate throughout. Special attention was given to fire prevention after Palmer’s Antlers Hotel burned in 1898. Palmer was extremely innovative in his attention to detail and his desire to create a self-sufficient compound for himself and his family. A power station, creamery, and greenhouses were built close at hand without disturbing the sprawling lawns, staggering vistas, and striking rock formations on the grounds tucked against the Rocky Mountain foothills. Scottish landscape artist, John Blair, designed the layout with beautiful landscape treatments, pathways and rock bridges. A school house was built in the early 1880’s to provide the children with private schooling, guarding them from possible kidnap during the raging railroad wars while rivals struggled to dominate transportation routes through the mountains.

During reconstruction of his home, William Palmer traveled throughout Europe with his daughters collecting artifacts and decorations to complete the mansion. Although most of those items are gone now, they have been replaced with similar furnishings. Many of his collected touches, such as Dutch tiles around fireplaces and fixtures, still exist. Queen died at the young age of 44 in 1894, before the castle was rebuilt, although the plan implemented some of her original ideas. William Palmer suffered a horseback riding accident in 1906 which left him paralyzed. He continued living life as best he could in the sprawling mansion until his death in 1909.

For more information, refer to:

General William Palmer: Railroad Pioneer
by Joyce B. Lohse
Filter Press, 2009, “A Now You Know Bio”


Posted by on August 4, 2009 in Western history


Tags: , , , ,

A Palmer Tribute

A Palmer Tribute —

What is it?

A free open house event to celebrate Colorado Springs founder, General William Palmer, will take place at the Evergreen Cemetery Chapel in Colorado Springs on Friday, July 17, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Author Joyce B. Lohse will discuss General Palmer with visitors, with a computer slide show on display. She will be available to sign books, including General William Palmer: Railroad Pioneer, which will be available for purchase. Books by Joyce appeal to history buffs of all ages, and are appropriate for young readers. Dianne Hartshorn of A Perfect Era and Blanche’s Place will appear in character as Palmer’s wife, Queen.

General William Palmer: Railroad Pioneer, ISBN 978-0-86541-092-3,
list price $8.95, is available through booksellers, or from the publisher, . Check author web site for appearances and information at . To learn more about the Victorian Era and historic costumes, go to: and

Please join us for conversation about
history and books at A Palmer Tribute.
— Joyce & Dianne

General audience – public welcome!

Joyce B. Lohse, 7/7/09

Leave a comment

Posted by on July 7, 2009 in Western history


Tags: , , ,

News from Pikes Peak Country

This past weekend, Pikes Peak Library District presented their 6th Annual History Symposium, Rush to the Rockies! The 1859 Pikes Peak or Bust Gold Rush. It was their usual interesting, informative, entertaining, and classy affair, attended by about 200 regional history enthusiasts. I attended this time as a guest instead of as a presenter. My friend, Gayle Gresham, was one of the presenters this year. Another friend from Women Writing the West, Cynthia Becker, sat with me in the audience. PPLD brings together the best researchers in the region to preserve and share their brand of history, which is then compiled for publication. My work was included in a compilation about General William Palmer, published in March. Next year, I hope my essay about Dr. Justina Ford will achieve the same honor with inclusion in the compilation about Doctors, Disease and Dying in the Pikes Peak Region.

Again this week, I drove the 60 miles south to my former home, Colorado Springs, to speak to the Pikes Peak Genealogical Society. I enjoyed visiting with members and felt an instant rapport due to our shared enthusiasm for genealogy. Last week, I presented a history talk to the Colorado Women Flyfishers. It was a great time in an unusual venue. I managed to find a couple of links between Women of the West and flyfishing. It was a fun stretch.

Next week, I will present Colorado History to the Highlands Ranch History Society. After that, I have a small break before a presentation in Boulder in July, and at Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs, also in July. In August, I will be at Parker Days, and at Boom Days in Leadville, and a presentation for the Longmont genies. Then off to UCLA in September for Women Writing the West. Phew! Busy times. Summer is a great time to get out and enjoy history.

Joyce Lohse, 6/11/09
For more information and presentation schedules
go to:

Leave a comment

Posted by on June 11, 2009 in Western history


Tags: , , ,

The General is coming!


A few days ago, I received the edits for my latest manuscript, General William Palmer: Railroad Pioneer. Looks like my work is cut out for me as we hope to have the book published by early February, in time for a reading conference in Denver. This book has been a long time coming. It began almost two years ago and has gone through a couple of incarnations since its inception. I am excited that we are getting close to finalizing it for the “Now You Know Bio” series from Filter Press. To read more about the offerings from Filter Press, go to

General Palmer’s story is an exciting one of western pioneering spirit at its finest. Born in 1836, Palmer grew up with a fascination for railroad transportation and wide open spaces. As an officer of the Union Army during the Civil War, he was taken a prisoner of war for spying. After the war, he went to work for the railroads, eventually starting his own company, the Denver & Rio Grande. His narrow gauge “baby railroad” opened frontiers by connecting eastern and western routes through the rugged Colorado high country. He settled areas including the beautiful resort city of Colorado Springs where he settled with his wife Queen and built a castle in the foothills. Life threw many challenges at him which he overcame with dignity and perseverance.

Watch for publication of Palmer’s story early in 2009. This will be my fifth book for Filter Press in Palmer Lake, Colorado. With much pleasure and excitement, I have learned a great deal about the history of the railroads during the years of Western expansion, and I am anxious to share those stories with my readers and at upcoming presentations.

With best regards — Joyce Lohse


Posted by on January 3, 2009 in Western history


Tags: , ,