COBWEB CORNERS: Palmer leaves the Kansas Pacific

By Mel McFarland

       Palmer got back from California, finding the Kansas Pacific Rail-road had decided not to bite off a job so big. Instead it would just build to Denver. Palmer became overall director of the Denver construction, but his hopes were still with extending a railroad to the Pacific Ocean.
       Palmer represented the Kansas Pacific at the Denver Pacific's ground breaking. The DP was built north to Cheyenne to meet the transcontinental Union Pacific Railroad.
       In 1869 Palmer and Bell made their first visit to the community called Colorado City. They looked at the area and discussed their ideas. This trip helped inspire Palmer to seriously consider starting his own railroad. Palmer and Bell were introduced to young Irving Howbert, the El Paso county clerk and an area resident for ten years. The two shared some of their ideas with him and invited him to help develop their project. He would assist by acquiring property under the instructions of Palmer and Bell. One of the first areas that attracted Palmer's and Bell's attention was at the mouth of Ute Pass.
       Palmer continued to lead construction across western Kansas, even though the possibility of the KP actually using his southwest survey now seemed dead. He was pushing to get the KP finished to Denver by the next summer. It looked as if Denver would be as far as this railroad would be built. He considered his ideas and goals for his own company. He tendered his resignation in May, to be effective in August. He wanted to get started on a new railroad plan. This would develop into the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. You have already heard how that worked out!