Greeley - Encyclopedia

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GREELEY, a city and the county-seat of Weld county, Colorado, U.S.A., about 50 m. N. by E. of Denver. Pop. (1890) 2 395; (1900) 3023, of whom 286 were foreign-born. It is served by the Union Pacific and the Colorado & Southern railways. In 1908 a franchise was granted to the Denver & Greeley Electric railway. The city is the seat of the State Normal School of Colorado (1889). There are rich coal-fields near the city. The county is naturally arid and unproductive, and its agricultural importance is due to an elaborate system of irrigation. In 1899 Weld county had under irrigation 226,613 acres, representing an increase of 102.2% since 1889, and a much larger irrigated area than in any other county of the state. Irrigation ditches are supplied with water chiefly from the Cache la Poudre, Big Thompson and South Platte rivers, near the foothills. The principal crops are potatoes, sugar beets, onions, cabbages and peas; in 1899 Weld county raised 2,821,285 bushels of potatoes on 23,195 acres (53% of the potato acreage for the entire state). The manufacture of beet sugar is a growing industry, a large factory having been established at Greeley in 1902. Beets are also grown as food for live stock, especially sheep. Peas, tomatoes, cabbages and onions are canned here. Greeley was founded in 1870 by Nathan Cook Meeker (1817-1879), agricultural editor of the New York Tribune. With the support of Horace Greeley (in whose honour the town was named), he began in 1869 to advocate in The Tribune the founding of an agricultural colony in Colorado. Subsequently President Hayes appointed him Indian agent at White River, Colorado, and he was killed at what is now Meeker, Colorado, in an uprising of the Ute Indians. Under Meeker's scheme, which attracted mainly people from New England and New York state, most of whom were able to contribute at least a little capital, the Union Colony of Colorado was organized and chartered, and bought originally 11,000 acres of land, each member being entitled to buy from it one residence lot, one business lot, and a tract of farm land.

The funds thus acquired were, to a large extent, expended in making public improvements. A clause inserted in all deeds forbade the sale of intoxicating liquors on the land concerned, under pain of the reversion of such property to the colony. The initiation fees ($5) were used for the expenses of locating the colony, and the membership certificate fees ($150) were expended in the construction of irrigating ditches, as was the money received from the sale of town lots, except about $13,000 invested in a school building (now the Meeker Building). Greeley was organized as a town in 1871, and was chartered as a city of the second class in 1886. The "Union Colony of Colorado" still exists as an incorporated body and holds reversionary rights in streets, alleys and public grounds, and in all places "where intoxicating liquors are manufactured, sold or given away, as a beverage." See Richard T. Ely, "A Study of a ` Decreed ' Town," Harper's Magazine, vol. 106 (1902-1903), p. 39 0 sqq.

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