Greeley, Colorado

Greeley, Colorado is a city rich in history, heritage, and tradition. Its sense of rootedness is reflected in the festivals, museums, cultural attractions, and historic sites that the city offers.

The city has an incredibly rich and diverse offering of art events and cultural attractions. There are numerous museums that depict this history. From Jazz festivals to arts festivals and various food festivals the city has something for every kind of taste.

The City of Greeley has several nicknames including "Garden City of the West," "James Michener's Home in the West," G-Town, The 970, or Greality. As with most of Colorado, Greeley is an arid region. An extensive irrigation system, however, has allowed the city to become a center for agriculture in northern Colorado. In 1980, Greeley was named Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation for the abundance of trees in the city. Greeley is the seat of the Colorado State College and the Greeley Independence Stampede. Forbes has named the city one of the best places for business and careers.

Greeley has a lot to offer those who enjoy city life as well as the outdoors. The city also has a bustling nightlife, various places to eat, places to see and can also offer you a great shopping experience. Many businesses in the city also thrive.

Greeley History

After visiting Colorado Territory in 1869, Nathan Meeker, an agricultural writer for The New York Tribute, wrote an article entitled "A Western Colony" on the Tribune. The article praised the Rocky Mountain scenery, the friendly people, and the cheap homestead fertile land available for purchase. Meeker also wrote of starting a utopian community based on seven principles: agriculture, irrigation, religion, education, cooperation, family values, and temperance. He then encouraged people to join him in this colony venture. Over 3,000 responded. From this, Meeker selected over 700 as members. A $155 membership fee was collected to purchase land in the area between the Poudre and Platte Rivers. The planned town was called Union Colony, but this was later changed to Greeley.

Greeley was planned to be an agricultural community so irrigation ditches were some of the first things the colony built. Residences, churches, and schools were also opened. To keep off the open range cattle off the farms - there as many as 300,000 in the 1870s -- a 7-foot high fence was built around the colony. Businesses were opened to support the farmers. By 1885, the colony also had, flour mills, produce warehouses, store, lumberyard, and bank. Buffalo-tanning factories were built to make hides and sell them as ropes. Houses had telephones and streets were lighted with electric lights.

By 1886, Greeley's population had grown to 2,177. It was incorporated that year as a second class city. Because of Greeley's strong adherence to their moral principles and law, it earned nicknames like "City of Saints," "Saint's Rest," and "City of Hayseeds and High Morals". In 1890, the State Normal School (now the University of Northern Colorado) and another high school was built.

By the end of the 19th century, Greeley had become "The Garden Spot of the West", a reputation that was reinforced by a second boom in agriculture. A sugar factory, a starch factory, and a canning factory were built in the early 1900s. The sugar beet industry attracted Japanese and Russian immigrants, changing the ethnic makeup of the city. The reputation of Greeley also changed with the influx of uneducated workers. Still, prosperity and growth continued for Greeley. More hotels, hospitals, banks, and schools were built, as well as clubs and cultural venues. The Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1912, making it the oldest orchestra in the region. The architectural landscape was dominated by neo-classical style buildings, inspiring residents to call Greeley the "Athens of the West".

As Greeley grew, more and more people arrived to make permanent settlement in the community. These new people did not share the values of the "old guards". In 1969, the law was amended to allow sales of alcohol in the city, thus ending temperance in Greeley.

About Greeley, Colorado

The City of Greeley is the agricultural center of the northern region of the state of Colorado. The county seat of Weld County, it is located about 49 miles northeast of Denver, the state capital. Bordering the city on the south are the cities of Evans and Garden. The South Platte River is also located to the south of the city, while the Cache La Poudre River runs through the northern part. This self-governing, home rule municipality has a population of ninety-three thousand.

Greeley was founded as joint stock colony called the Union Colony of Colorado in 1870. The founding father was Nathan Meeker, writer for New York Tribune. The settlement was named for Tribune editor Horace Greeley, who mentored Meeker and who popularized the phrase "Go West, young man, go West." It was incorporated in 1886.

The city has an incredibly rich and diverse offering of art events and cultural attractions. The Union Civic Center Theater on 10th Avenue is the primary center for Greeley's performance arts. The theatre showcases musical performances from local and international artists such as the Vienna Boys Choir, LeeAnn Rimes, Michael Bolton, and Los Lonely Boys. All year round, the UNC College of Performance Arts also stages musicals as well as plays, drama, comedy, and many more. For five days every August, audiences enjoy High Plains Chatauqua, a re-creation of 19th century traveling tent shows, at the Aims Community College Campus.

There are four museums in Greeley, and each museum has a different focus. At the Centennial Village, visitors get to learn history through architecture. The village is a collection of original and replica buildings found in northeastern Colorado from 1860 to 1945. The Greeley History Museum contains artifacts, documents, and photographs that provide glimpses into the history of Greeley, Colorado. The Meeker Home Museum gives visitors a tour of the home of Nathan Meeker, Greeley's founder. The Plumb Farm Learning Center is a 1907 farmhouse, which was built as a memorial to the owner's Union Colony Grandparents.

In April, Greeley becomes a jazz city with the UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival. This annual festival, which attracts up to 7500 international artists and jazz lovers, has been a signature event of the city since 1969. Summer season continues with the annual Cinco de Mayo fiesta, which includes parade, food, jalapeno-eating contest, food market, and shopping booths. In June, the oldest and biggest rodeo celebration in North Colorado takes place in the small city of Greeley. Called the Greeley Stampede, this two-week celebration includes pie eating contest, motorcycle contest, bull riding, and kids' rodeos. Also held each June of the year is Greeley Blues Fest, which features a day of blues performances and workshops. September brings the Greeley Fiesta, a week-long celebration featuring Mexican Rodeo, food and cooking contests, parades, and basketball and golf tournaments. Come Christmas, the City of Greeley is filled with exquisitely decorated trees, sweet sound of yuletide songs, visits from Santa, horse-drawn wagon rides, and much more. The Festival of Trees is the highlight of the holiday season.

Greeley has over 30 parks for outdoor recreation. The most popular route for hiking or biking is the Poudre River Trail, a 19 mile-trail along the river.

About Weld County, Colorado

Weld County is an agricultural county lying 4,668 feet above sea level on the northern part of Colorado. The eastern part of the county has a fairly flat surface, while the western parts are characterized by rolling prairies and low hills. Further west lies the Rocky Mountains. On the northeastern region of the county lies the Pawnee Buttes and the Pawnee National Grassland. Wyoming and Nebraska borders the county on the north, and the Denver metropolitan area on the south. The South Platte River and its tributaries - Cache La Poudre, Little Thompson, Big Thompson, St. Vrain, and Boulder - as well as streams flow through the southern and western part of the county.

Weld County has a population of roughly of two hundred thirty seven thousand, making it the 9th most populous county in the state of Colorado. The county consists of 31 incorporated towns and eight cities. Its county seat, the City of Greeley, has about half of the county's population. Weld Count was created on November 1, 1861 by the US Congress as one of the 17 territories comprising the Territory of Colorado. Weld County was named for Lewis Ledyard Weld, the first territorial secretary.

Weld County is an arid county that has benefited from extensive irrigation. Today, the county is the center of cattle production and grain and sugar beet farming in Colorado. It is also a growing producer of milk. All these combine to make Weld County the fourth largest county in the nation. It is the fourth richest county in the US. One interesting fact about the county is that it has been hit by the most number of tornadoes since 1950 than any county in the US.

Cultural attractions: Weld County offers many historic sites including the Meeker Museum in Greeley, which used to be the home of city founder Nathaniel Meeker. Centennial Village, also in Greeley, features buildings that paint a picture of pioneer era on the Colorado Plains. Fort Vasquez focuses on the history of Colorado as a trading post. Weld County is also the home of the Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra, the oldest symphony orchestra in the state, and the University of Northern Colorado.