Greeley, Colorado

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.[1][7] The city population was 108,795 at the 2020 United States Census, an increase of +17.12% since the 2010 United States Census.[5] Greeley is the tenth most populous city in Colorado. Greeley is the principal city of the Greeley, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area and is a major city of the Front Range Urban Corridor. Greeley is located in northern Colorado and is situated 49 miles (79 km) north-northeast of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver.

Greeley, Colorado
City of Greeley[1]
The Weld County Courthouse in Greeley.
The Weld County Courthouse in Greeley.
Location of the City of Greeley in Weld County, Colorado.
Location of the City of Greeley in Weld County, Colorado.
Greeley is located in the United States
Location of the City of Greeley in the United States.
Coordinates: 40°25′24″N 104°42′33″W / 40.42333°N 104.70917°W / 40.42333; -104.70917Coordinates: 40°25′24″N 104°42′33″W / 40.42333°N 104.70917°W / 40.42333; -104.70917[3]
Country United States
State Colorado
CountyWeld County[2]
Named forHorace Greeley
 • Total49.092 sq mi (127.148 km2)
 • Land48.933 sq mi (126.735 km2)
 • Water0.159 sq mi (0.413 km2)
Elevation4,675 ft (1,425 m)
 • Total108,795
 • Rank10th in Colorado
286th in the United States
 • Density2,223/sq mi (858/km2)
 • Metro
328,981 (156th)
 • CSA
3,623,560 (17th)
 • Front Range
Time zoneUTC−07:00 (MST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−06:00 (MDT)
ZIP Codes[6]
80631–80634 & 80638–80639
Area code970
FIPS code08-32155
GNIS feature ID0180649 [3]
HighwaysUS 34, US 85, SH 257, SH 263, SH 392
WebsiteCity of Greeley Colorado
Tenth most populous Colorado city


Greeley in 1882

Union ColonyEdit

Greeley began as the Union Colony of Colorado, which was founded in 1869 by Nathan C. Meeker, a agricultural reporter for the New York Tribune as an experimental utopian farming community "based on temperance, religion, agriculture, education and family values," with the backing of the Tribune's editor Horace Greeley, who popularized the phrase "Go West, young man".[8][9][10] A committee which included Meeker and former Civil War general Robert Alexander Cameron traveled to Colorado to find a suitable site, and purchased 12,000 acres at the confluence of the Cache la Poudre and South Platte Rivers. The site, formerly known as the "Island Grove Ranch", included the area of Latham, an Overland Trail station, and was halfway between Cheyenne, Wyoming and Denver, Colorado along the tracks of the Denver Pacific Railroad.[9]

By May, 500 people had arrived to take up residence in the new colony. The name Union Colony was later changed to Greeley in honor of Horace Greeley,[11] who had come to Colorado in the 1859 Pike's Peak Gold Rush.[12][13]


Greeley is located just west of the area previously occupied by the Overland Trail station of Latham, originally called the Cherokee City Station. The Latham station, which was 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 the birth of the first white child born in Colorado, a girl, occurred there. Fort Latham was the headquarters of the government troops during the Indian conflicts of 1860–1864 and the county seat; the post office was called Latham.[14]

Early historyEdit

Greeley was incorporated as a city on April 6, 1886.[15]

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.[15] Automobiles were on the roads alongside horse drawn buggies by 1910.[15] In 1922 KFKA became one of the first radio stations to broadcast in the US[15] and the Greeley Municipal Airport was built in 1928.[15]

Greeley housed two POW camps in 1943,[15] 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,[15] thus ending temperance in the city.

The Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra was started in 1911.[15] In 1958, Greeley became the first city to have a Department of Culture.[15]


Greeley is located in the High Plains of northern Colorado about 25 mi (40 km) east of the Rocky Mountains and north of Denver.

Greeley is bordered on the south by the towns of Evans and Garden City. 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 city is served by US Route 85 and US Route 34.[16]

At the 2020 United States Census, the city had a total area of 31,419 acres (127.148 km2) including 102 acres (0.413 km2) of water.[5]


Flooding in Greeley in 2013

Greeley experiences a semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk). High temperatures are generally around 90–95 °F (32 °C) in the summer and 40-45 °F (4 °C) in the winter, although significant variation occurs. 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 15–20 °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 happen 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 nonexistent 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.[17]

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 hottest part of the summer. The diurnal temperature range is usually rather wide, with a 50-degree (Fahrenheit) difference between daytime highs and nighttime lows not uncommon, especially in the spring and fall. 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) 42.4
Average low °F (°C) 16.0
Record low °F (°C) −25
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.47
Average snowfall inches (cm) 5.7
Source: NOAA[18]


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the 2010 census,[19] 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 3,096.3 people per square mile (1,195.5/km2). There were 36,323 housing units at an average density of 1,210.7 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.[20]

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.[21]


Among the companies based in Greeley are the meatpacker JBS USA, 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 employersEdit

According to the city's 2019 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[22] the following are the Greeley area's largest employers:

# Employer # of Employees
1 JBS USA 4,590
2 Banner Health / North Colorado Medical Center 3,560
3 Greeley-Evans School District 6 2,200
4 University of Northern Colorado 1,900
5 Weld County 1,615
6 State Farm 1,200
7 City of Greeley 900
8 TTEC 620
9 Noble Energy 500
10 Leprino Foods 450


The 233rd Space Group (233rd SG) is a unit of the Colorado Air National Guard located at Greeley Air National Guard Station, Greeley, Colorado. The Greeley A.N.G. Station is adjacent to the Greeley–Weld County Airport and makes use of its runways.

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

Arts and cultureEdit

In 2014 the Greeley Creative District was certified as an official Creative District by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.[23]

Union Colony Civic CenterEdit

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, the Greeley Chorale and the Stampede Troupe theater company.


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.[24]

Primary and secondary schoolsEdit

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.[25]

There are thirteen elementary schools in Greeley serving kindergarten through 5th grade: Centennial Elementary, Dos Rios Elementary, Fred Tjardes, Heiman Elementary, Jackson Elementary, Madison Elementary, Maplewood Elementary, Martinez Elementary, McAuliffe Elementary, Meeker Elementary, Monfort Elementary, Scott Elementary, and Shawsheen Elementary.[26]

There are four K8 schools in Greeley serving kindergarten through 8th grade: Bella Romero Academy, Chappelow Arts Magnet, McAuliffe, and Winograd.

There are also five charter schools: University Schools, Frontier Academy, West Ridge Academy, Salida del Sol, and Union Colony.

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

Colleges and universitiesEdit

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

Sister citiesEdit

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.[27]


Health careEdit

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.[28]

Poudre Valley Health Systems merged with University of Colorado Health in 2011 resulting in new and improved healthcare facilities all around Colorado. A brand-new 153,300 foot hospital in West Greeley is set to open in Spring of 2019.[29] The UCH facility will provide Greeley residents with an additional option for inpatient healthcare services rather than only NCMC and is conveniently located off of Highway 34.


City Hall

Greeley operates under a council-manager system of government, where the city council, composed of 7 members, adopts laws and policies for the city, in addition to establishing priorities. This council includes elected members from each of the four wards, two at-large members, and the mayor.

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]



Public transportation in Greeley is provided by Greeley-Evans Transit (GET), which operates seven local bus routes across Greeley.[31] Since January 2, 2020, GET operates a regional bus service called the Poudre Express which connects Greeley to Fort Collins and Windsor. Express Arrow also operates buses to Denver and Buffalo stopping at multiple other cities along the way.

In popular cultureEdit

First known as the Greeley Spud Rodeo in 1922, the summer celebration was renamed the Greeley Independence Stampede by 1972. This locally famous event typically lasts nearly two weeks leading up to Independence Day. Including events like a demolition derby, rodeos, carnival rides and games, food vendors, live musical performances, and even a 4th of July parade; this yearly tradition has grown to draw-in visitors from neighboring cities and states. The average yearly attendance to the event is nearly 250,000.[32]

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 undocumented workers and hauling hundreds off in buses.[33]

In August 2010, Leprino Foods announced plans for a new $270 million factory in Greeley. Construction began in July 2010, and consisted of three phases.[34] The final phase was finished in 2017, and 500 people are currently employed at the facility.[35]

A fictionalized Greeley was featured heavily in the season 15 finale episode of the popular animated television show South Park, titled "The Poor Kid". The episode sees main characters Kenny McCormick and Eric Cartman move to the town, after being put into foster care.[36]

In June 2012 Greeley became the first city in the state of Colorado to implement SB11-273 known as the Law of Common Consumption[37] allowing for patrons of the Downtown Greeley Entertainment District to buy drinks in "Go-Cups," from participating downtown establishments.

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".[38][39]

Local writersEdit

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.[40]

Notable peopleEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d "Active Colorado Municipalities". State of Colorado, Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Division of Local Government. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  2. ^ "Colorado Counties". State of Colorado, Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Division of Local Government. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c "Greeley". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  4. ^ "Colorado Municipal Incorporations". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. 2004-12-01. Retrieved 2007-09-02.
  5. ^ a b c d "Decennial Census P.L. 94-171 Redistricting Data". United States Census Bureau, United States Department of Commerce. August 12, 2021. Retrieved September 4, 2021.
  6. ^ "ZIP Code Lookup". United States Postal Service. Archived from the original (JavaScript/HTML) on November 4, 2010. Retrieved September 24, 2007.
  7. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  8. ^ "Greeley, Colorado History for Kids". 2013-07-21. Retrieved 2013-09-13.
  9. ^ a b Worster, Donald (1985) Rivers of Empire: Water, Aridity, and the Growth of the American West. New York: Oxford University Press. pp.83-84. ISBN 0-19-507806-3
  10. ^ "History of Greeley". Archived from the original on 2013-09-13. Retrieved 2013-09-13.
  11. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Greeley" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 12 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 533.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. pp. 143.
  14. ^ "Colorado Judicial Branch".
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Greeley History Museum". GreeleyHistoryMuseum. Retrieved 2014-06-23.
  16. ^ Colorado Atlas & Gazetteer, DeLorme, 12th ed. 2015, p. 31 ISBN 0899332889
  17. ^ UCAR: Hail Archived 2009-10-15 at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ "NOWData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  19. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-07-03.,U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census; accessed 3/27/14
  20. ^ "2008-2012 American Community Survey". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved March 27, 2014.
  21. ^ "Greeley, Colorado (CO) profile: population, maps, real estate, averages, homes, statistics, relocation, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, moving, houses, news". Retrieved 2013-09-13.
  22. ^ "City of Greeley CAFR" (PDF). Retrieved 2021-04-07.
  23. ^ "Colorado Creative Districts", Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  24. ^ "2012 American Community Survey, Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  25. ^ "Weld County School District 6: Middle Schools", Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  26. ^ "Weld County School District 6: Elementary Schools", Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  27. ^ "404".
  28. ^ "Poudre Valley Health System, University of Colorado Hospital announces partnership". Archived from the original on 2012-03-17. Retrieved 2013-09-13.
  29. ^ "Prefabrication process keeps UCHealth Greeley Hospital on track". Retrieved 2018-06-27.
  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. ^ "Routes and Schedules". Greeley Evans Transit. Retrieved 2020-10-14.
  32. ^ "Our Roots".
  33. ^ "U.S. Raids 6 Meat Plants in ID Case", article New York Times by Julia Preston, December 13, 2006
  34. ^ 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.
  35. ^ "Greeley, CO". Leprino Foods. Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  36. ^ "The Poor Kid". Archived from the original on April 2, 2017. Retrieved February 15, 2020 – via
  37. ^ Hamling, Alison. "DDA Dr. of Experience". Colorado General Assembly. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  38. ^ Kotkin, Joel. "No. 5: Greeley, CO - pg.6". Forbes.
  39. ^ Badenhausen, Kurt. "#4 Greeley, Colo. - pg.4". Forbes.
  40. ^ "James A. Michener Library". University of Northern Colorado. 2006-08-08. Archived from the original on 2008-04-30. Retrieved 2008-03-18.
  41. ^ "Reed Doughty". Retrieved March 5, 2013. Reed Doughty, #37 DB, Washington Redskins. Born: 11/4/1982 Greeley , CO College: Northern Colorado
  42. ^ "UNC Notable Alumni". Weld County Government. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
  43. ^ "Taryn Hemmings". Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  44. ^ "Greeley math whiz cracks old equation". April 17, 2005. Retrieved January 7, 2011.
  45. ^ "Biography, Senator Andrew Perchlik". Montpelier, VT: Vermont General Assembly. 2019. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
  46. ^ Delaney, Anne (February 6, 2019). "Greeley's Sharktooth Ski Area lives on through history, Facebook page". The Greeley Tribune. Greeley, CO.
  47. ^ 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.

External linksEdit