Parshall, situated on the river terrace overlooking the junction of
the Grand (now the Colorado) and Williams Fork Rivers, has been a site of
human activity since prehistoric times. Fire pits and stone artifacts show
that ancient man frequented the site long before recorded history.
"Colorado Charlie" Utter was known to have been in the area
in the late 1850s. If he did not have some kind of dwelling, he surely used
the rich natural meadows of the river bottoms to pasture his horses and
mules which he used for backing and guiding early hunting and fishing parties.
He was probably the first outfitter in Middle Park.
Overview of Parshall town site in about 1911
WHY IS THE TOWN NAMED PARSHALL?
The town was named for Ralph Parshall, husband of Cordelia who bought
the land in 1902. Cordelia's sons sold the river terrace, consisting of
about 60 acres, to Alonzo F. Polhamus in 1907, and Polhamus dedicated the
town site of Parshall to Grand County.
Ralph Parshall was a civil engineer and a friend of Mr. Polhamus. Ralph
invented the "Parshall Flume", a water measuring device which
is still used by modern irrigators.
WHAT WERE THE FIRST BUILDINGS IN TOWN?
The first business was the general store built by Walter Dow in 1905.
The Dows may have operated out of a tent until they built the first part
of the store. By 1907 the town had several buildings including a post office
and the hotel.
The Dow store in 1905. Note the platform tents in the background.
Parshall served as a supply center for ranchers who lived on the Williams
Fork River and on Corral Creek. When the railroad was built through the
area, Parshall became a center for cattle shipping. In the late 1920s raising
lettuce was a profitable summer crop. Lettuce sheds in Parshall received,
trimmed, iced and packed the lettuce for car load shipments to outside markets.
WHO LIVES IN PARSHALL TODAY?
There about 80 residents living in Parshall today. The town is not incorporated,
but is served by Grand County government. Parshall is located on Highway
40 between Hot Sulphur Springs and Kremmling.
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