|The Palmer-Divide, a geological ridge running from Palmer Lake eastward, creates its own weather patterns |
and separates the Arkansas River drainage to the South & the Platte River Drainage to the North. The highest
point of the divide is about 7352 feet at Monument Hill.
The earliest known area inhabitants were native-American tribes - the Mountain Ute, Arapaho, Kiowa, &
Cheyenne. The earliest recorded activity in the area was the Army's Major Stephen Long Expedition of 1820,
which discovered the Colorado State Flower, the Columbine, somewhere between Monument and Palmer Lake.
Many homesteaded ranches & farms straddled the El Paso/Douglas County line as early as the 1860s.
Mr. David McShane is credited with being one of the first homesteaders, 1865, in the Town of Monument.
Henry Limbach and his family were also early arrivals and had much to do with planning and developing of
Monument, which prospered as the commercial hub for the area on arrival of the railroad.
General William J. Palmer came west after the Civil War to found the City of Colorado Springs & start the
Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, a narrow gauge line, in 1871. He purchased the land known as the Monument
Farms & Lake Property. Palmer Lake was critical to the railroad because the steam trains chugged up to the
summit and had to take on water to head down. The lake was the only natural water supply available. Passenger
trains would stop for 10 minutes to take on water, or you could get off for a day of picnicking, fishing, and
boating or wildflower hikes for a fee of $1.00 round trip from Denver.