Greeley is the evolving product of Union Colony, a joint stock company established in 1869. A man named Nathan Meeker had advertised for individuals to join him in colonizing a region of Northern Colorado. Meeker specified that the colony would be based on certain principles, including among other things agriculture, religion and education. He received thousands of responses, but eventually settled on a group of 59 people to fund the development of Greeley and to be its first residents.
Out of this background, the Greeley culture has become one that values a strong work ethic and the enterprising nature of the community's forefathers. Greeley has been described as a model city of the American frontier, where community picnics, rodeos and fishing trips are still valued and enjoyed.
Greeley is known as the home of the University of Northern Colorado. With a fall 2013 enrollment of over 12,000 students, the student population at UNC plays a pivotal role in Greeley's real estate market as more investment properties/apartments, condominiums and townhouses are being developed. Not only are college students positively affecting the community's housing market, UNC's graduates fine that Greeley's steady economy and job market are so appealing that many decide to stay and become permanent residents.
Greeley sponsors several high-profile celebrations throughout the year, attracting residents and visitors alike to participate in the fun. The Greeley Stampede is a fun celebration where residents and people from all over the western United States "celebrate our nation's independence and preserve our western heritage." The Greeley Stampede takes place every year for two weekends during the summer and includes music concerts, bull riding, professional rodeo events, kids rodeos, demolition derbies, a televised 4th of July parade, and plenty of food stands and vendors. The Cinco de Mayo/Semana Latina event expresses Latino culture through fine arts, live music, dancing, competitions and activities for kids. Greeley also holds an Arts Picnic each July to showcase the work of artisans from around the country. Items on display include pottery, jewelry and watercolor paintings. The holiday season is celebrated with Greeley's Festival of Trees. Visitors can peruse the decorated pine trees while listening to choirs and carolers.
Although the landscape of Greeley itself is relatively flat, the surrounding area offers some striking contrasts. Greeley's elevation at the local airport is about 4,650 feet. The Rocky Mountains rise up impressively to the west, while rolling prairies spread out to the east. Farms and ranches have a strong presence east of Greeley, while ski resorts and vacation hot spots dot the map on the other side. The center of Denver, with its own set of cultural and recreational activities, is 60 miles south of Greeley.
Greeley's mild, white winters are balanced with warm, dry summers and 270 days of sunshine each year. Temperatures range from the high-90s in July to the low-teens in December. Annual rainfall averages about 13 inches, while Greeley sees over 30 inches of snow each year.