If only Nathan Meeker and the early “Union Colonists” could see us now! Located approximately 50 miles northeast of Denver, at the confluence of the South Platte and Cache la Poudre Rivers, Greeley’s early settlers used irrigation farming techniques that served as a prelude even today as a community committed to advancing modern technology and innovation in agriculture and business. Agri-business still provides a solid economic basis, with Weld County (of which Greeley is the county seat) consistently ranking in the top 10 agricultural producing counties in the nation. In addition to Greeley’s agricultural roots, advances in technology have landed us as a rapid growing, modern business industry nestled in the heart of Northeast Colorado.
Greeley is also home to the University of Northern Colorado, founded in 1889 as the State Normal School (teacher education), but is also recognized today for its quality business, performing arts and nursing programs. The university draws an array of guest artists and speakers who brighten the cultural landscape. Each spring, one of the nation’s largest jazz festivals has the whole town tapping its toes.
“Go West, Young Man”
This saying attracts visitors from around the world. The museum is a collection of vintage homes, a church, schoolhouse and other structures on five-and-a-half acres that date back from pre-settlement days into the early 20th century. The village is open primarily from April–October — it’s worth planning a visit to town just to see it. You can also visit the historic home of Nathan Meeker, credited with being the town’s founder. The 1835 Fort Vasquez, on Hwy., 85 between Denver and Greeley, will also give you a good idea of what life was like before Westerners permanently settled the area. Additionally, the Colorado Model Railroad Museum is truly a wonder, drawing train-lovers of all ages to see its operating model railroad, plus more than 600 railroad-related artifacts. Watch as the mini-train cars chug along a track that’s built in a 5,500-square-foot layout, surrounded by thousands of handmade features.
Another famous name attached to the city is author James A. Michener, who received his master’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado in 1935, taught there for several years, and eventually used the setting in his historical Colorado novel, Centennial.