Greeley, Colorado

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City of Greeley, Colorado
The Weld County Courthouse in Greeley
Nickname(s): The 970, G-Town, Greality
Motto: "Great. From the Ground Up."
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
CountryUnited States
CountyWeld County Seat[1]
Named forHorace Greeley
 • TypeHome Rule Municipality[1]
 • Total30 sq mi (77.7 km2)
 • Land29.9 sq mi (77.5 km2)
 • Water0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation4,658 ft (1,420 m)
Population (2013)
 • Total92,889
 • Density3,106.6/sq mi (1,198.5/km2)
Time zoneMST (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST)MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP codes[3]80631-80634 & 80638-80639
Area code970
FIPS code08-32155
GNIS feature ID0180649
HighwaysUS 34, US 85, SH 257, SH 263, SH 392
WebsiteCity of Greeley Colorado
Twelfth most populous Colorado city
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City of Greeley, Colorado
The Weld County Courthouse in Greeley
Nickname(s): The 970, G-Town, Greality
Motto: "Great. From the Ground Up."
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
CountryUnited States
CountyWeld County Seat[1]
Named forHorace Greeley
 • TypeHome Rule Municipality[1]
 • Total30 sq mi (77.7 km2)
 • Land29.9 sq mi (77.5 km2)
 • Water0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation4,658 ft (1,420 m)
Population (2013)
 • Total92,889
 • Density3,106.6/sq mi (1,198.5/km2)
Time zoneMST (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST)MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP codes[3]80631-80634 & 80638-80639
Area code970
FIPS code08-32155
GNIS feature ID0180649
HighwaysUS 34, US 85, SH 257, SH 263, SH 392
WebsiteCity of Greeley Colorado
Twelfth most populous Colorado city

Greeley is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous city of Weld County, Colorado, United States.[4] Greeley is in northern Colorado. Greeley is situated 49 miles (79 km) north-northeast of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. According to the 2013 Census estimates, the population of the city is 109,888.[5] Greeley is the 12th most populous city in the State of Colorado. Greeley is a major city of the large Front Range Urban Corridor.


City Hall.

Early history[edit]

The town was named after Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune.[6]


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).[7]

Union Colony[edit]

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."[8] 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".[9]


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).[10] 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 106°F (41°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.[11]

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
Record high °F (°C)74
Average high °F (°C)40.0
Average low °F (°C)15.6
Record low °F (°C)−25
Precipitation inches (mm)0.53
Snowfall inches (cm)6.5
Source: NOAA[12]


Historical population
Est. 201194,9622.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
2011 estimate

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 76,930 people, 27,647 households, and 17,694 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,572.5 people per square mile (993.4/km²). There were 28,972 housing units at an average density of 968.8 per square mile (374.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 55.4% White, 1.87% African American, 0.83% Native American, 1.15% Asian, 0.14% Pacific Islander, 13.77% from other races, and 2.84% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 34.49% of the population.

Historic buildings along 9th Street in Greeley, Colorado, USA

There were 27,647 households out of which 33.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.7% were married couples living together, 10.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.0% were non-families. 25.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.19.

In the city the age distribution of the population shows 25.6% under the age of 18, 19.0% from 18 to 24, 27.3% from 25 to 44, 18.0% from 45 to 64, and 10.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females there were 96.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $36,414, and the median income for a family was $45,904. Males had a median income of $32,800 versus $24,691 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,775. About 10.1% of families and 16.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.4% of those under age 18 and 9.5% of those age 65 or over.


Among the companies based in Greeley are the meatpacker Swift & Company, the outsourcing company StarTek, and the contractor Hensel Phelps Construction.

Largest employers[edit]

According to a 2012 city financial report,[14] the following are the Greeley area's largest employers:

#Employer# of Employees
1JBS Swift & Company4,500
2North Colorado Medical Center3,000
4State Farm1,460
5Carestream Health520
10The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society330


The crime rate (per 100,000 people) recently has been below national average, according to The website gave the city an aggregate crime rating of 287 in 2010 and 304.3 in 2009, against a national average score of 319.1.[15] In 2005, the Greeley police said that there were roughly 450 gang members belonging to about 25 different gangs in Greeley.[16] In 2010 Sheriff's Deputy and Greeley resident Sam Brownlee was shot and killed with his own weapon in Evans, Colorado by reputed gang member Reuben Reyes after an automobile pursuit and a struggle between the two men.[17]


Guggenheim Hall, University of Northern Colorado.

Primary and secondary schools[edit]

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 John Evans Middle.[18]

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, Romero Elementary, Scott Elementary, and Shawsheen Elementary.[19]

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[edit]

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


Health care[edit]

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 It was announced that 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.


In the news and popular culture[edit]

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 5 other Swift plants in western states, interviewing illegal workers and hauling hundreds off in buses.[21]

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.[22]

On November 16, 2011, Greeley was featured in an episode of South Park titled "The Poor Kid". In the episode, the characters Eric Cartman and Kenny McCormick were placed in a foster home in Greeley and forced to attend school at Greeley Elementary. Cattle were prominently featured in many scenes, and a sign welcoming visitors to the town described Greeley as "The Exact Opposite of Hawaii".[23][24]

Local writers[edit]

James A. Michener attended Colorado State College of Education, now the University of Northern Colorado, from 1936–1937. He was a Social Science educator at the Training School and at the College from 1936-1941. 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.[25]

Egyptian Islamist Sayyid Qutb studied at the Colorado State College of Education in 1949. In The America I Have Seen (1951), he portrays Greeley as a hotbed of debauchery, rife with "naked legs" and "animal-like" mixing of the sexes.[26][27]

Connie Willis, author of The Doomsday Book and other novels, currently lives in Greeley.[citation needed]

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "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. ^ "ZIP Code Lookup" (JavaScript/HTML). United States Postal Service. Retrieved September 24, 2007. 
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  5. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Population for All Incorporated Places in Colorado" (CSV). 2013 Population Census. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. June 21, 2006. Retrieved November 17, 2006. 
  6. ^ "Profile for Greeley, Colorado, CO". ePodunk. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  7. ^ 19th Judicial District Court History, Colorado Judicial Branch
  8. ^ "Greeley, Colorado History for Kids". 2013-07-21. Retrieved 2013-09-13. 
  9. ^ "History of Greeley". Retrieved 2013-09-13. 
  10. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  11. ^ UCAR: Hail.
  12. ^ "Climatography of the United States NO.20". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved Februaru 21, 2011. 
  13. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  14. ^ "Comprehensive Annual Financial Report" (PDF). Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Greeley, Colorado (CO) profile: population, maps, real estate, averages, homes, statistics, relocation, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, moving, houses, news". Retrieved 2013-09-13. 
  16. ^ [1][dead link]
  17. ^ "Sheriff: Colorado cop killed by own gun". 2010-11-24. Retrieved 2013-09-13. 
  18. ^ "Weld County School District 6: Middle Schools", Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  19. ^ "Weld County School District 6: Elementary Schools", Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  20. ^ "Poudre Valley Health System, University of Colorado Hospital announces partnership". Retrieved 2013-09-13. 
  21. ^ "U.S. Raids 6 Meat Plants in ID Case", article New York Times by Julia Preston, December 13, 2006
  22. ^ 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. 
  23. ^ "Greeley Elementary - Video Clips". South Park Studios. Retrieved 2013-09-13. 
  24. ^ "The Exact Opposite of Hawaii - Video Clips". South Park Studios. Retrieved 2013-09-13. 
  25. ^ "James A. Michener Library". University of Northern Colorado. 2006-08-08. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  26. ^ Siegel, Robert (2003-05-06). "Sayyid Qutb's America". National Public Radio. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  27. ^ MACLEANS of Canada
  28. ^ Sayyid Qutb. "The America I Have Seen: In the Scale of Human Values". "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." 
  29. ^ 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." 
  30. ^ 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 magazine. "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.”" 
  31. ^ "Reed Doughty". Retrieved March 5, 2013. "Reed Doughty, #37 DB, Washington Redskins. Born: 11/4/1982 Greeley , CO College: Northern Colorado" 
  32. ^ "Greeley math whiz cracks old equation". Greeley Tribune. April 17, 2005. Retrieved January 7, 2011. 

External links[edit]