Photocopy $5 proof sheet of City National Bank From National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian.

Greeley Colorado Banking History

and National Bank Notes  

Dennis Schafluetzel  
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Greeley History
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Greeley NB (#4437)
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Greeley NB Summary
Bibliography

Greeley History

Union Colony Proposal
Nathan Meeker wrote an article in the New York Tribune in December 1869 with the endorsement of the editor, Horace Greeley that propelled the formation of Union Colony of Colorado. He wrote, "I propose to unite with the proper persons in establishing a colony in Colorado Territory. A location I have seen is well watered with streams and springs, there are beautiful pine groves, the soil is rich, and the climate is healthful, grass will keep stock the year round, coal and stone are plentiful, and a well traveled road runs through the property. The land... can be settled"... at a cost of ..."eighteen dollars for 160 acres. The persons with whom I would be willing to associate must be temperance men, ambitious to establish good society,... My own plan would be to make the settlement almost wholly in a village, and divide the land into lots of 10 acres and to divide these into eight lots for building purposes and then to apportion to each family from forty to eighty, even 160 acres adjoining the village" for farms. The response was almost overwhelming, before two months had passed, three thousand had responded. A meeting was held in New York December 23, 1869 to draw up a charter and commission a locating committee led by Mr. Meeker, and including Henry T. West and General R. A. Cameron. On April 12 the New York Tribune reported the locating committee had bought 70,000 acres of railroad and government land on the Cache a La Pouder river in Colorado, half-way between Denver and Cheyenne.

Greeley Settled
General Cameron proposed to name the town Meeker but Mr. Meeker was far too modest a man to vote for naming a town after himself. They agreed to name it Greeley for Horace Greeley. The Union Colony of Colorado was incorporated in April of 1870. The town was layout in a one mile square and building of the first of four ditches that were planned for irrigating the farm land, was begun the first year. A total of 687 certificates were sold at $155 each which entitled the holder to purchase one residential and one business lot for $25-$50 in the city. It also allowed the holder to purchase 80 acres of farm land with water rights near the city for $75. All of the deeds included the following temperance requirement: "And also the farther consideration that it is expressly agreed between the parties hereto, that intoxicating liquors shall never be manufactured, sold or given away in any place of public resort as a beverage on said premises; and that in case any of these conditions shall be broken or violated, this conveyance and everything therein shall be null and void."

The importance of success in irrigation to the colony cannot be over estimated. If they had failed to develop agriculture by irrigation there would now be no town of Greeley. Irrigation is required in eastern Colorado because the annual rainfall is less than 15 inches per year. Ditch construction and irrigation framing in the early 1870s was not widely practiced or understood. It took a number of years building ditches, enlarging them and learning when and how much to irrigate before farming began to flourish. By 1889 there were 400,000 acres under irrigated cultivation.

During the first year the rise in business property was quite marked, but residential lot value fell off as some moved to their farms and some left the colony. There was not a rapid rise in farm property because grasshoppers were a major menace and there was a shortage of irrigation water.


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Dennis Schafluetzel - ©2005 - All rights reserved. Updated: February 26, 2013 14:41