families moved to Greeley to work in the sugar beet factory.
In 1924, the Garcia family moved from
New Mexico to Greeley with their seven (7) children. They came to
work for the sugar beet
factory. They would work in the fields helping to harvest (pick) the
beets. Later Great Western decided to offer the workers a chance to own a small home. They thought the workers would be more likely to stay close if they had permanent housing. Greeley had one of the 13 colonies (neighborhoods).
Spanish Colony had about 45 families living there.
Families were chosen by the farmers to live in the colony. They had to be hard workers and have a good family life. The families settled in an area northwest of Greeley
so that they could be easily be found to work. They built small
Some of those original homes are still standing but are covered
with stucco or other materials.
The Community Salon was the social center.
People met in the Community Salon (Now the Guadalupe Center) to have fun. One popular event was Box Social lunches. Girls would make a special lunch and wrap it up. The boys would bid on the lunches and eat with the owner. This was one way the Colony raised money. They also had music and dances. The Salon also housed the health clinic that was started by the Red Cross.
They enjoyed sports.
People enjoyed boxing matches.The colony built a baseball field. Baseball was a favorite sport. People in the Spanish Colony played for and watched their team the Greeley Grays play games all over Northern Colorado.
people in Greeley made it hard for the Hispanic families.
The workers sometimes were treated unfairly. Some
people thought they spoke only Spanish and were surprised when
speak English. Some business owners would not allow any Hispanics
to shop or to eat in their stores. For a time, Colorado
was not allowing any Hispanics to move into the state.
The children went to Gipson School.
It was a segregated (separate) school. It was said to be segregated by location (where it was) rather than by order (law). It was hard for the teachers because the children spoke three different types of Spanish. They spoke Old Mexico Spanish from the north, Old Mexico Spanish from the south or Southern Colorado Spanish.
Gipson School was open from 1928 -1948.
It only went to sixth grade so the children in the Spanish Colony after those years did not go on to finish school. Sometimes parents did not want their children to be in school but to work in the fields.
When the school closed, children were bussed to Lincoln School ( The former Sunrise Health Clinic today.) The school bell was donated to the New Evangelical Temple Church located at 23 Avenue and 25 Street.
have been better accepted today.
As Greeley grew, the town accepted the Hispanic
citizens. Things are better today between the different races
and cultures, but there
are still problems. Some people still treat people different because
of their skin color, last name or language.
One school, Dos
Rios, has a Spanish name. Several other schools are named for Greeley citizens of Hispanic roots: Bella Romero and Billie Martinez. Also, Greeley celebrates several Mexican
holidays such as Cinco De Mayo and many other events have an Hispanic
influence. Fiesta Days are celebrated each fall.
Immigration questions have caused problems.
In 2006, people in town were talking about immigration after a raid was made at Swift to find illegal immigrants. (Workers from other countries who do not have the paper work done to let them work.) Immigration has become a hot topic in the city, state and nation.