Located in the tank-like depths of Palisade Canyon, Palisade—first named Palisades— was surveyed and laid out by the Central Pacific Railroad in February 1870.  During the 1870s, it rivaled Elko and Carlin as a departure point on the Central Pacific for wagon, freight, and stage lines to Mineral Hill, Eureka, and Hamilton.

In October 1875, with completion of Eureka and Palisade Railroad, Palisade became the northern terminus and operating headquarters for this little, ninety-mile narrow-gauge line stretching southward to Eureka.  Between 1875 and 1930, the town was the principal transfer and shipping point on the Central Pacific (which later became the Southern Pacific) and on the Western Pacific Railroad after its 1909 completion.

At its peak, the town boasted a population of 300.  It was a self-contained community, and railroading was its business.  There were passenger and freight stations, sidings on both the Southern Pacific and Western Pacific Railroads, and a large ore transfer dock between the narrow-gauge and standard-gauge lines.  All Eureka and Palisade (Eureka-Nevada after 1912) headquarters facilities were situated here.

After the narrow-gauge line ran its last train in September 1938, Palisade went into a long decline.  The post office was finally closed in 1962.