The Union Colony of Colorado, which was a joint stock colonization corporation, was responsible for founding Greeley in 1870. Greeley now serves as the county seat of Weld County. Nathan Meeker, who had previously worked as the agricultural editor for Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune, served as the company’s CEO. Meeker was drawn to the Rocky Mountains because of their breathtaking scenery and pristine environment, both of which he believed would be perfect for establishing a community based on principles such as moderation, religion, education, agriculture, irrigation, collaboration, and family values.
The community was honored with the naming of the town after Horace Greeley, who traveled there for the first time in 1870 but did not return. Greeley became a city in 1886 as a second-class municipality despite having just 2,177 residents at the time. The roads were given names of local trees, and the avenues were named after historical figures. The city’s reputation as “The Garden Spot of the West” stems from the considerable farmland that exists there. Around the turn of the century, sugar beet production began, which contributed significantly to the growing affluence.
The beet farms employed a significant number of Germans originally from Russia as well as Japanese immigrants as labour. The ethnic composition of the community evolved as a result of the arrival of these new residents. New development was undertaken in both the residential and business sectors during the years 1900 and 1910. In 1937, in response to widespread water scarcity, the Colorado-Big Thompson Project was given the go light. The water issue was significantly improved as a result of the project, which included the construction of a network of high mountain reservoirs as well as a trans-mountain water diversion tunnel. Even during times of extreme drought, there would always be water available. Greeley saw a period of economic expansion throughout the 1950s, which led to the founding of a large number of companies, industries, schools, and other public and private organizations as well as commercial enterprises.
The city council, led by the visionary Ben Cruce, developed a new zoning plan under his direction. This plan applies not only to the city, but also to regions located three miles outside of the city borders. Greeley has always adhered to a “dry” policy regarding the sale of alcoholic beverages. The ban remained in place until the early 1970s, when a group that supported the sale of alcoholic beverages was successful in gaining the upper hand and re-establishing liquor sales in Greeley. Greeley-Capitol Pack opened a factory in Greeley for the processing of beef the same year, in 1960. Because of the enormous output of the business, Greeley is often referred to as the “Steak House of Colorado.” The Hewlett-Packard Company moved its headquarters to Greeley in 1982, giving the city a boost in the technological sector.