Greeley, Colorado

City of Greeley, Colorado
Home Rule Municipality

The Weld County Courthouse in Greeley
Nickname(s): The 970, G-Town, Greality,

Location in Weld County and the State of Colorado
Coordinates: 40°25′N 104°43′W / 40.417°N 104.717°W / 40.417; -104.717Coordinates: 40°25′N 104°43′W / 40.417°N 104.717°W / 40.417; -104.717
Country United States
State Colorado
County Weld[1]
Founded 1869
Incorporated 1885-11-15[2]
Named for Horace Greeley
  Type Home Rule Municipality[1]
  Mayor Ezekiel Danielson [3]
  Total 30 sq mi (77.7 km2)
  Land 29.9 sq mi (77.5 km2)
  Water 0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation 4,658 ft (1,420 m)
Population (2010)[4]
  Total 92,889
  Estimate (July 2015)[5] 100,883
  Density 3,106.6/sq mi (1,198.5/km2)
Time zone MST (UTC-7)
  Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP codes[6] 80631-80634 & 80638-80639
Area code 970
FIPS code 08-32155
GNIS feature ID 0180649
Highways US 34, US 85, SH 257, SH 263, SH 392
Website City of Greeley Colorado
Twelfth most populous Colorado city

The City of Greeley is the Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Weld County, Colorado, United States.[7] Greeley is in northern Colorado and is situated 49 miles (79 km) north-northeast of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. According to a July 2015 estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of the city is 100,883,[8] and a 2014 population estimate made Greeley the 12th most populous city in the state of Colorado. Greeley is a major city of the Front Range Urban Corridor.


City Hall.

Early history

The town was named after Horace Greeley, editor of the New-York Tribune, who came to Colorado in the 1859 Pike's Peak Gold Rush.[9][10] It was founded as the Union Colony in 1869, an experimental utopian society, but the name was later changed in honor of Horace Greeley. Governor Benjamin Harrison Eaton declared Greeley an official city on April 6, 1886.[11]

Greeley was built on farming and agriculture but kept up with most modern technologies as they grew. Telephones were in town by 1883 with electric lights downtown by 1886.[11] Automobiles were on the roads alongside horse drawn buggies by 1910.[11] KFKA became one of the first radio stations to broadcast in the USA in 1922[11] and the Greeley Municipal Airport was built in 1928.[11] Greeley housed two POW camps in 1943,[11] during World War II. One was for German POWs and the other was for Italian POWs. A vote to allow the sale of alcohol passed by a mere 477 votes in 1969,[11] thus ending Temperance in the city.

The Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra was started in 1911.[11] In 1958, Greeley became the first city to have a Department of Culture.[11] Greeley is still growing and changing today, its population has more than doubled since 1970.


Greeley is located in (or just west of) the area previously occupied by the Overland Trail station of Latham (originally called the Cherokee City Station). The Latham station (also known as Fort Latham) was built in 1862 and named in honor of Milton S. Latham, one of California's early senators. The stagecoach station was at the confluence of the South Platte River and the Cache la Poudre River. It is believed that here occurred the birth of the first white child born in Colorado, a girl. Fort Latham was the headquarters of the government troops during the Indian conflicts of 1860-64 and the county seat (the post office being called Latham).[12]

Union Colony

The Union Colony Civic Center, a performing arts facility in Greeley.

Greeley began as the Union Colony, which was founded in 1869 as an experimental utopian community "based on temperance, religion, agriculture, education and family values."[13] by Nathan C. Meeker, a newspaper reporter from New York City. Meeker purchased a site at the confluence of the Cache la Poudre and South Platte Rivers (that included the area of Latham, an Overland Trail station), halfway between Cheyenne and Denver along the tracks of the Denver Pacific Railroad formerly known as the "Island Grove Ranch". The name Union Colony was later changed to Greeley in honor of Horace Greeley, who was Meeker's editor at the New York Tribune, and popularized the phrase "Go West, young man".[14]


Greeley is located at 40°24′54″N 104°43′26″W / 40.41500°N 104.72389°W / 40.41500; -104.72389 (40.415119, -104.723988).[15] Elevation above sea level is 4,658 feet.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 30.0 square miles (78 km2), of which 29.9 square miles (77 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.30%) is water.

Greeley is bordered on the south by the towns of Evans and Garden City, and the three together are often collectively (although incorrectly) referred to as "Greeley". The Greeley/Evans area is bounded on the south by the South Platte River, and the Cache la Poudre River flows through north Greeley. The intersection of U.S. Highways 85 and 34 is often cited as the location of Greeley, although the actual point of intersection lies within the city limits of Evans. Greeley contains the western terminus of State Highway 257 and borders State Highway 392 on the north.


Greeley experiences a semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk). High temperatures are generally around 90 °F-95 °F (32 °C) in the summer and 40 °F-45 °F (4 °C) in the winter, although there is significant variation. The hottest days generally occur around the third week of July and the coldest in January. Nighttime lows are near 60 °F (16 °C) in the summer and around 15 °F-20 °F (-9 °C) in the winter. Record high temperatures of 112 °F (44.4 °C) have been recorded, as have record low temperatures of -25 °F (-32 °C). The first freeze typically occurs around October 10 and the last can be as late as May 4. Extratropical cyclones which disrupt the weather for the eastern two-thirds of the US often originate in or near Colorado, which means Greeley does not experience many fully developed storm systems. Warm fronts, sleet, and freezing rain are practically non-existent here. In addition, the city's proximity to the Rocky Mountains and lower elevation, compared to the mountains west of the city, result in less precipitation and fewer thunderstorms. This is paradoxical, because adjacent areas (mostly farmland) experience between 7 and 9 hail days per year.[16]

The climate in Greeley, as well as all of Colorado, is extremely dry. The Chinook winds coming off the mountains often raise temperatures to near 70 °F (21 °C) in January and February, and sometimes to near 90 °F (32 °C) in April. Greeley's elevation and low year-round humidity means that nighttime low temperatures are practically never above 68 °F (20 °C), even in the very hottest part of the summer. The diurnal temperature range is usually rather wide, with a 50-degree (Fahrenheit) difference between daytime high and nighttime low not uncommon, especially in the spring and fall months. Rapid day-to-day and diurnal fluctuation in temperature is also common.

Climate data for Greeley, Colorado
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 74
Average high °F (°C) 46.0
Average low °F (°C) 16.6
Record low °F (°C) −25
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.48
Average snowfall inches (cm) 5.6
Source: NOAA[17]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 2015100,883[18]8.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[19]

As of the 2010 census,[20] there were 92,889 people, 33,427 households, and 21,250 families residing in the city. The age distribution shows 68,936 residents are age 18 and older and 23,953 residents are under 18 years of age. The age distribution of the population showed 31.3% from 0 to 19, 11.4% from 20 to 24, 25.4% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 10.7% ages 65+. The median age was 30.5 years old. The gender distribution was 49.1% male and 50.9% female. For every 100 females there were 96.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.9 males.

The racial makeup of the city was 79.1% White, 1.7% African American, 1.2% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 13.2% from other races, and 3.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 36.0% of the population.

Out of 33,427 total households, 21,250 (63.3%) were family households where at least one member of the household was related to the householder by birth, marriage, or adoption. 12,177 (36.4%) households were non-family households consisting of people living alone and households which did not have any members related to the householder. Of the 21,250 family households, 11,495 (54.1%) had children under the age of 18 living with them.

The population density was 3096.3 people per square mile (1195.5/km²). There were 36,323 housing units at an average density of 1210.7 per square mile (467.5/km²).

The median income for a household in the city was $44,226, and the median income for a family was $55,277. Males had a median, full-time income of $40,122 versus $35,294 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,372.

15.7% of families and 23.5% of the population had income below the poverty line during the 12 months prior to being surveyed. People with incomes below the poverty line include 32.1% of those under age 18 and 8.9% of those age 65 or over.[21]

The crime rate (per 100,000 people) is below the national average, according to The website gave the city an aggregate crime rating of 289.6 in 2012, against a national average score of 301.1.[22]


Among the companies based in Greeley are the meatpacker Swift & Company, the outsourcing company StarTek, and the contractor Hensel Phelps Construction. The Colorado/Kansas operations of natural gas utility Atmos Energy are based in Greeley.

Largest employers

According to a 2014-15 economic and demographic profile,[23] the following are the Greeley area's largest employers:

# Employer # of Employees
1 JBS Swift & Company 4,654
2 North Colorado Medical Center 2,885
3 Vestas 2,150
4 State Farm 1,790
5 Halliburton Energy Services 1,030
6 Select Energy Services 742
7 TeleTech 700
8 Noble Energy 600
9 Anadarko Petroleum 590
10 A&W Water Services 500


The 137th Space Warning Squadron (137 SWS) is a unit of the Colorado Air National Guard located at Greeley Air National Guard Station, Greeley.

Arts and culture

In 2014 the Greeley Creative District was certified as an official Creative District by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.[24]

Union Colony Civic Center

Greeley is home to the Union Colony Civic Center, one of the largest performing arts venues in Colorado. The 1686 seat Monfort Concert Hall hosts touring Broadway musicals, concerts, comedians, along with regional and local performing arts groups. The 214 seat Hensel Phelps Theatre hosts The Stampede Troupe in addition to lectures, meetings, and smaller performances. In addition, the Tointon Gallery presents a dozen exhibits annually by local, regional, and national artists, and is free to the public.

Owned and operated by the City of Greeley, the Union Colony Civic Center sponsors many events held by the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Greeley Chorale.


Guggenheim Hall, University of Northern Colorado.

Of Greeley residents ages 18+, 82.2% are high school graduates and 25.9% have a bachelor's degree or higher.[25]

Primary and secondary schools

Most areas in Greeley lie in Weld County School District 6.

Four high schools, Greeley Central High School, Greeley West High School, Jefferson High School and Northridge High School, are in and serve Greeley.

There are four middle schools, which serve grades 6-8: Brentwood Middle, Franklin Middle, Heath Middle, and Prairie Heights Middle School.[26]

There are 14 elementary schools in Greeley serving kindergarten through 5th grade: Centennial Elementary, Dos Rios Elementary, East Memorial Elementary, Heiman Elementary, Jackson Elementary, Madison Elementary, Maplewood Elementary, Martinez Elementary, McAuliffe Elementary, Meeker Elementary, Monfort Elementary, Bella Romero Academy, Scott Elementary, and Shawsheen Elementary.[27]

There are also three charter schools (University Schools, Frontier Academy, Union Colony Preparatory School). Chappelow Arts Literacy Magnet School is the district's renowned arts education K-8 school.

There are at least five private schools inside the Greeley city limits: Trinity Lutheran School, St. Mary Catholic School, Dayspring Christian Academy, Shepherd of the Hills, and Mountain View Academy.

Colleges and universities

Greeley is also home to University of Northern Colorado, Aims Community College, Academy of Natural Therapy, and Institute of Business & Medical Careers.

Sister cities

Greeley is a sister city to Moriya, a city located in Japan's Ibaraki Prefecture. Every other summer 18 students from Moriya come to Greeley for a week-long stay.[28] Japan - Moriya, Japan


Health care

North Colorado Medical Center, a full-service state-of-the-art hospital and one of Greeley's largest employers.

North Colorado Medical Center is the primary medical facility for Weld County. The hospital opened in 1904 as the Greeley Hospital. The name of the facility evolved over the years to Weld County General Hospital and that became North Colorado Medical Center. The Center is operated by Banner Health-based out of Phoenix, Arizona. The hospital recently expanded its facilities and added a new addition which expanded its emergency room and increased the amount of rooms available for patients in other departments.

On June 23, 2011, Poudre Valley Health Systems and the University of Colorado Medical School announced a pending joint operations agreement. If approved, it would overtake NCMC as the largest regional hospital in Northern Colorado. In 2010, Greeley Medical Clinic, the largest and oldest medical group in Greeley announced it was affiliating with PVHS.[29]


Since 2006, the Greeley Police Department has received more than $2.3 million of tactical military equipment from the United States Department of Defense (DoD) including a "mine resistant vehicle", 72 5.56 mm rifles, 22 suppressors, and 15 sniperscopes. Prior to 2014, when the information was made public by the DoD in response to public scrutiny over widespread police militarization in the United States, the program details had been closely guarded and little information had been released during the previous 20 years.[30]


In popular culture

On December 12, 2006, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E) staged a coordinated predawn raid at the Swift & Co. meat packing plant in Greeley and at five other Swift plants in western states, interviewing illegal workers and hauling hundreds off in buses.[31]

Greeley was featured in the books Fast Food Nation and Chew on This by Eric Schlosser.

In August 2010, Leprino Foods announced plans for a new $270 million factory in Greeley which could employ up to 500 people. Construction began in July 2010.[32]

On May 12, 2014, Greeley was ranked number #5 of 10 "Top Small Cities for Jobs" in a Forbes article. On July 23, 2014 Forbes ranked Greeley as #4 of 10 "List of Best Cities for Job Growth "[33][34]

Greeley was also mentioned multiple times in the animated comedy show, South Park, as it is close to South Park, Colorado, which is a fictional town based on Fairplay.

Local writers

James A. Michener attended Colorado State College of Education, now the University of Northern Colorado, in 1936–37. He was a social science educator at the training school and at the college from 1936 to 1941. He conceived the idea for his acclaimed 1974 novel Centennial during his stay in Greeley, basing it on the real history of the town and the Colorado region.[35]

Egyptian Islamist Sayyid Qutb studied at the Colorado State College of Education, now the University of Northern Colorado, in 1949. On May 6, 2003, Robert Siegel, the senior host of All Things Considered on National Public Radio reported that Sayyid Qutb wrote a distorted chronology of American history in his book The America I Have Seen (1951). In his book, Qutb stated that Greeley began with wars against the Native Americans and that those wars were still underway in 1949. Qutb also stated that Latinos were pushed out of the Greeley area, towards Central America, prior to the start of the American Revolution. Qutb portrayed Greeley as a hotbed of debauchery, rife with "naked legs" and "animal-like" mixing of the sexes, however, Egyptian political scientist Mamoun Fandy contends that Qutb's critique of America was warning Egyptians of the West, of modernity, and of things they were attracted to. As for Qutb's revulsion over American sexuality, Fandy says there is no evidence that Qutb ever had a sexual relationship in his life.[36]

Notable people

See also


  1. 1 2 "Active Colorado Municipalities". State of Colorado, Department of Local Affairs. Retrieved 2007-09-01.
  2. "Colorado Municipal Incorporations". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. 2004-12-01. Retrieved 2007-09-02.
  3. "City Council Members". City of Greeley. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  4. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  5. "QuickFity, Coloradoacts: Greeley c". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 7 November 2016.
  6. "ZIP Code Lookup" (JavaScript/HTML). United States Postal Service. Retrieved September 24, 2007.
  7. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  8. "QuickFacts: Greeley city, Colorado". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 7 November 2016.
  9. Dawson, John Frank. Place names in Colorado: why 700 communities were so named, 150 of Spanish or Indian origin. Denver, CO: The J. Frank Dawson Publishing Co. p. 25.
  10. Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 143.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "Greeley History Museum". GreeleyHistoryMuseum. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  12. 19th Judicial District Court History, Colorado Judicial Branch
  13. "Greeley, Colorado History for Kids". 2013-07-21. Retrieved 2013-09-13.
  14. "History of Greeley". Retrieved 2013-09-13.
  15. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  16. UCAR: Hail.
  17. "NOWData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved August 20, 2015.
  18. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  19. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  20. ,U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census; accessed 3/27/14
  21. ,U.S. Census Bureau, 2008-2012 American Community Survey; accessed 3/27/14
  22. "Greeley, Colorado (CO) profile: population, maps, real estate, averages, homes, statistics, relocation, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, moving, houses, news". Retrieved 2013-09-13.
  23. "2014-2015 Economic & Demographic Profile Weld County, Colorado" (PDF). Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  24. "Colorado Creative Districts", Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  25. "2012 American Community Survey, Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  26. "Weld County School District 6: Middle Schools", Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  27. "Weld County School District 6: Elementary Schools", Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  29. "Poudre Valley Health System, University of Colorado Hospital announces partnership". Retrieved 2013-09-13.
  30. Musgrave, Shawn; Meagher, Tom; Vong, Iva r; Dance, Gabriel (2014-12-05). "The Pentagon Finally Details its Weapons-for-Cops Giveaway". MuckRock News. Retrieved 2014-12-07.
  31. "U.S. Raids 6 Meat Plants in ID Case", article New York Times by Julia Preston, December 13, 2006
  32. Raabe, Steve (August 29, 2010). "New Leprino Foods plant could make the Greeley area flow with milk and money". Denver Post. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
  33. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  34. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  35. "James A. Michener Library". University of Northern Colorado. 2006-08-08. Retrieved 2008-03-18.
  36. Siegel, Robert (2003-05-06). "Sayyid Qutb's America". National Public Radio. Retrieved 2014-03-29.
  37. "Reed Doughty". Retrieved March 5, 2013. Reed Doughty, #37 DB, Washington Redskins. Born: 11/4/1982 Greeley , CO College: Northern Colorado
  38. "UNC Notable Alumni". Weld County Government. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
  39. "Taryn Hemmings". Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  40. "Greeley math whiz cracks old equation". Greeley Tribune. April 17, 2005. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
  41. Sayyid Qutb. "The America I Have Seen: In the Scale of Human Values" (PDF). One night I was in a church in Greeley, Colorado, I was a member in its club as I was a member in a number of church clubs in every area that I had lived in, for this is an important facet of American society, deserving close study from the inside. After the religious service in the church ended, boys and girls ...proceeded through a side door onto the dance floor ...And they danced to the tunes of the gramophone, and the dance floor was replete with tapping feet, enticing legs, arms wrapped around waists, lips pressed to lips, and chests pressed to chests. The atmosphere was full of desire.
  42. Robert Siegel (May 6, 2003). "Sayyid Qutb's America: Al Qaeda Inspiration Denounced U.S. Greed, Sexuality". Egyptian writer and educator Sayyid Qutb spent the better half of 1949 in Greeley, Colo., studying curriculum at Colorado State Teachers College, now the University of Northern Colorado. What he saw prompted him to condemn America as a soulless, materialistic place that no Muslim should aspire to live in.
  43. David Von Drehle (February 2006). "A Lesson In Hate: How an Egyptian student came to study 1950s America and left determined to wage holy war". Smithsonian. curvy jezebels pursued boys with "wide, strapping chest[s]" and "ox muscles," Qutb added with disgust. Yet no matter how lascivious his adjectives, the fastidious, unmarried Egyptian could not convincingly portray the church dances and Look magazines he encountered in sleepy Greeley as constituting a genuine sexual "jungle."

External links

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