Palmer Lake Historical Society
Serving the Tri-Lakes/Palmer Divide Since 1956
P.O. Box 662, Palmer Lake, CO 80133


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Monument, Its People & History

The interesting people and historical events of Monument are presented here. We believe that history of a town can not be complete without knowing of and understanding the people and events that shaped Monument over the years. New content will be added over time.

Patrick Murphy
A most remarkable Monument area pioneer

Pat MurphyPatrick Murphy was born March 16, 1821, in Cork County, Ireland. He left Ireland in the middle of the afternoon April 21, 1864. It took fourteen days to cross the ocean in the ship named "The Kangaroo". Murphy made his way west mostly by walking. When he reached the Divide he knew this was the place, as the grass was high and thick, and there were many buffalo herds. At the age of 101 he ran a race in the main street of Monument with a man many years his junior and won, and danced at a dinner given in his honor that night.

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The Monument Ice Harvest
Ice was a cash crop until 1943 when the wind came to town.

Blocks of ice being loaded into a boxcarBefore refrigerators and freezers most everyone with a lake or pond would harvest the ice that formed and store it into July.  Produce and meats were shipped across the country in railroad boxcars that used ice to keep the contents fresh.  During the winter, working the Ice Harvest was a way to earn wages for two or three months in what otherwise would be a hard time in a farm and ranch economy.  The Doyle Ice Company of Monument was built from scratch and had ice storage houses that would hold 4,000 tons of ice for use in warmer weather.  Annually, about 36,000 tons of ice was shipped for a wide variety of uses.  The man delivering an ice-block to the home ice-box was very popular as he often had to chip ice from the block so that it would fit into the ice-box.  Ice chips were a treat in the hot summer months to any kid lucky enough to get some.

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If you would like to learn more about Tri-Lakes history, the Palmer Lake Historical Society, or the Lucretia Vaile Museum, please e-mail us at