The Town of Palmer Lake was founded by General William Jackson Palmer, when he purchased the land know as Monument Farms & Lake Property in 1871. The first recorded history of fire safety was in 1893 when the Palmer Lake Water Department installed four “fire plugs” (fire hydrants) in Glen Park after great concern of a fire hazards around many flammable wooden cabins and tent cottages. The effects of fire soon hit the town hard throughout the 1890s and early 1900s, as fires burned down the Ben Lomond Ranch (1890), the Palmer Lake post office (1895), the Glen Park depot (1900), and five other ice houses (1908). Another historical fire took place in 1920 when the grand four-story Rockland’s Hotel was completely destroyed by a gas explosion, resulting in an intense fire. The town finally purchased its first fire engine in 1921 and six more fire hydrants in 1927.
In 1938, the town finished constructing the fire station next to the town hall and formed the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department. The department was comprised of about 15 volunteers who would respond to the station when a loud fire siren rang throughout the town. As technology has vastly improved throughout the years, changing many firefighting operations, the concept of firefighters being neighbors helping neighbors, has remained the same. The motto, “pride is our pay” was adopted in the late 1990s as volunteers continue to courageously serve the community they love. (Edwards, 2012) In addition to providing excellent emergency services to the Town of Palmer Lake and our neighboring communities, our fire department has played and continues to play a major role in community events. Volunteer firefighters and fire officers proactively helped educate the Town of Palmer Lake to become a Firewise Community® through free fire-safety workshops and by free fire mitigation assessments to the public. As a result, the mitigation in Palmer Lake has greatly improved over the last few years and the town officially became recognized as a Firewise Community/USA® in December 2014. PLFD also has served in many fundraiser and community events including: Winterfest, Easter Pancake Breakfast, Elephant Rock Cycling Festival, 4th of July events and fireworks, Palmer Lake Elementary School Fire Safety Day, Fire Department Open House, Palmer Lake’s Chili Supper and Star Lighting Festival, Santa’s Breakfast, and the Palmer Lake Yule Log Hunt. Throughout the year, PLFD volunteers have maintained the iconic Palmer Lake Star on Sundance Mountain, which in February 2013, was designated as a Colorado Historic site.
For more information on town and Fire Department history, please visit the Palmer Lake Historical Society’s website, the Lucretia Vaile Museum in Palmer Lake, or Palmer Lake Fire Department where you can pick up a copy of The Beginnings of the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department by Dan Edwards.