Greeley, Colorado was founded in the late 1800’s and has had some very beautiful buildings throughout its history. Greeley has had a grand post office, court house, opera house and one of the best hotels in the state. Unfortunately many of these buildings have been lost including the Oasis Hotel, later the Camfield Hotel. Given enough time, even the grandest buildings will lose structural integrity and need to be razed if a significant amount of money is not used to restore them. However, Greeley has had more than its fair share of historic buildings destroyed in the name of progress.
Greeley has made significant efforts to revitalize its downtown area.
In recent years the city of Greeley has made great efforts to restore the downtown area and bring life to it. Greeley once had a very vibrant downtown area, but most of the growth in Greeley has been to the West away from downtown. 10 or 20 years ago the Greeley downtown area was mostly dead, with very few restaurants, bars or retail stores. The downtown area had the Rio and the State Armory (a college bar since closed), but not much else. In recent years the Greeley down town area has improved greatly thanks to a strong effort from the City and community. There is life back in Old Town Greeley with multiple bars, many restaurants, Friday Fest, Oktoberfest, live bands and even night clubs. The downtown is a fun place to be again, but I wonder if it would have been easier to bring life back to downtown if many of the historic buildings were still there?
Greeley, Colorado’s Camfield and Oasis Hotel
The sad thing about these beautiful buildings was they were not dilapidated and beyond repair when they were torn down. Many of them were razed in the 1960’s by a local car dealer who had big plans for Greeley, but never did anything with the land, except leave vacant dirt lots. The Camfield Hotel was one of the properties leveled in the name of progress. If those buildings had survived, maybe Greeley’s downtown would have never suffered such a long downturn.
The Camfield hotel was built in 1881 and then completely remodeled around 1910. A fourth floor was added and the hotel was said to be the third best hotel in Colorado behind the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs and the Brown Palace in Denver.
What historic buildings still exist in Greeley?
Some historic buildings did survive in Greeley. The Greeley court-house still remains a beautiful building that was built in 1916. The Meeker house still stands and is a museum as does the old Greeley Tribune building. The old Greeley High School building still stands and is office space. My father used to work in the old Greeley High School building when I was very young.
There are still some very old buildings in down town Greeley as well, but many of the larger, interesting buildings were lost. The Sterling Theater was right next to the court house, but was torn down and a new jail complex put in its place.
Did the historic buildings in Greeley need to be torn down?
I am not an expert on every historic building that was torn down in Greeley. As I mentioned, I was not alive when these buildings existed and do not know the exact reasons they were not saved. I have been able to do some research and discovered that Bob Reese Motors bought the Camfield hotel in 1963 and tore it down in 1964. Apparently they had plans for the plot of land, but it sat vacant for 30 years and now is a parking lot on the corner of 7th St and 8th Avenue right by the old state armory. The Greeley Post office (pictured to the left) was a beautiful building that was torn in 1962 after standing for 52 years. It was built extremely sturdy and I have heard stories that they had an extremely hard time getting the building to come down it was so strong. After only 52 years, it had become obsolete and a new post office was built. From what I can tell the Denver Dry Goods store was put in the old post office location, which later became the Clarion Hotel.
It does not good to complain about the historic buildings that were torn down. We cannot rebuild them and I will never know what they looked like in person. But, we can appreciate what is still here and try to save current historic buildings that may be nearing the end of their life. Europe has churches that are thousands of years old, if you take care of a property and want to save it, you probably can. Below is the old Greeley Chamber of Commerce building, which still exists on 7th St and 8th Ave, but has seen better days.
It is nice to know that the old Free Mason building on 8th St and 10th Ave will become a brewery soon!