On Palmer’s in-laws and why Queen left the Springs

Westside Pioneer photo        Local historian Delores Gustafson (left) gave a presentation on Colorado Springs founder William Palmer, his wife Mary Lincoln (Queen) Palmer and Queen's family March 21 at the annual meeting of Rock Ledge Ranch's Living History Association, held at the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center. At right is a photo of Queen's half-sisters (from left, Maud, Charlotte, Helen and Daisy). According to a family tree provided by Gustafson, their father was William Mellen, an attorney who assisted Palmer in some of the development of the Springs.
       One of the reasons that Palmer's Glen Eyrie house (just north of the present-day Garden of the Gods City Park) was/is so big was to provide accommodations for different in-laws. “He became a surrogate father to the whole Mellen family,” Gustafson said. “Eight children were depending on him, and he was in the middle of developing his railroad and the city.” Courtesy of Delores Gustafson
       In 1907, Palmer built what is now the Orchard House at Rock Ledge Ranch as a home for Charlotte and her husband William Sclater.
       Contrary to lingering stories that Queen left Palmer because she didn't like him or Colorado Springs, Gustafson read from letters showing that Queen's health (a heart problem) was the real issue. “I believe she beat the odds by moving to England,” Gustafson said. “She may have added 10 years to her life by moving away from the high altitude.”

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