Spanish Colony
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Spanish Colony

Hispanic 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).

The 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 adobe homes. 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.

Some 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 they could 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.

Hispanics 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.

Media
Click on the thumbnails to see a larger picture. It will open in a new window. Close that window to return to this page.
Hispanic Sugar Beet Workers 1949 Gipson School
Circa the 1920s, a family working in the fields. Photo Credit Gipson School in 1949. (click to see larger)
©Gabriel Lopez

adobe colony house

store
This is the style adobe house that the workers built in the Spanish Colony. This house is a replica that is found at Centennial Village. (This does not have a bigger picture.) This is the neighborhood store in the Spanish Colony today.
This is a model of the original Spanish Colony that was made by Gabriel Lopez Family.
Movie of the exhibits in the Spanish Colony part of Centennial Village.
greeley grays page Link to Gipson School
Learn about the history of the Greeley Grays baseball team. Read some memories of Gipson School from a former student.
agriculture  
Learn more about the importance of agriculture in Greeley.  
Updated June 28, 2013 7:07 PM->

 

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