Greeley, the county seat of Weld County, was established in 1870 by the members of the Union Colony of Colorado, a joint stock colonization company.
The company was headed by Nathan Meeker, the agricultural editor of Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune. Meeker was attracted to the scenic beauty and pure environment of the Rocky Mountains, which he felt would be ideal for setting up a community based on temperance, religion, education, agriculture, irrigation, cooperation, and family values. The town was named after Horace Greeley, who paid the community one visit in 1870 and never returned.
With a population of 2,177, Greeley was incorporated as a second-class city in 1886. The streets were named after trees, the avenues for famous personalities.
The extensive agriculture gave the city the appelation "The Garden Spot of the West." Around the 1900s, sugar beet production was introduced, bringing further prosperity.
Many Germans from Russia, and Japanese immigrants were employed as laborers in the beet farms. These immigrants brought a change in the community's ethnic profile. During the period of 1900-1910, new commercial and residential construction took place.
To address water shortages, the Colorado-Big Thompson Project was approved in 1937. The project, involving a system of high mountain reservoirs and a trans-mountain water diversion tunnel, resolved the water problem to a great extent. A water supply was now ensured, even during drought periods.
The 1950s were boom years in Greeley, with the establishment of numerous businesses, industries, schools, public institutions and commercial establishments. Under the guidance of visionary Ben Cruce, the city council laid out a new zoning plan, applicable not only to the city, but to regions three miles beyond the city limits.
Early on, Greeley adopted a "dry" alcohol sales policy. The policy lasted until the early 1970s when a pro-liquor group managed to prevail and re-introduce liquor sales to Greeley.
In 1960, Greeley-Capitol Pack established a meat processing facility in Greeley. The huge output from the plant brought Greeley the applelation "Steak House of Colorado." With the arrival of the Hewlett-Packard Company in 1982, Greeley acquired a high-tech dimension.
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Horace Greeley ... the recent death of his wife, and the effective loss of his editorship, Greeley suffered a breakdown of both mind and body, and died on November 29, 1872. Bibliography: Allan Nevins, "Horace Greeley," DAB, 7: 528-34; Van Deusen, Greeley. http://www.tulane.edu/~latner/Greeley.html