Historical signage installed around town

MEEKER | Meeker is rich in history and culture from its beginning in the 1800s to today. The White River Valley, from Trappers Lake to the state line of Colorado and Utah, is home to many noteworthy events. As the year-round home of its earliest residents, the Northern Utes, this valley provided all they needed to survive and thrive. The westward expansion brought explorers, fur traders and pioneers into the valley to find a better and more productive life.

Rio Blanco County Historical Society has become the research center and depository of the history of the Meeker area. That information has been condensed into historical signage placed around town to tell the story and keep our history alive.

The first sign is at the White River Museum. Read the history of our military officers’ quarters that were here from 1879 to 1893 and follow the map to explore many historical points of interest in the community.

Follow the yellow footprints that start from the Museum and go down Sixth Street to the clock tower kiosks. Read the account of the 1896 bank robbery that took place in the Hugus building across the street. As you look down the street, imagine the bank robbers exiting the side door of the Hugus building and heading toward their horses tied at the freight corral, then across the street to the old granary. The bodies of the bank robbers were placed there until the coroner could arrive. Shortly after, the robbers were buried in Highland Cemetery on the hill south of town. The hiking trail will take you there.

Historic pictures of the early buildings of Meeker give you a view of what was and is our historic district, as registered with the State of Colorado and the National Historic Registry.

Follow the footprints down Main Street to check out the original bank vault in Nana Goose, experience the historic charm of the Meeker hotel, and the Bank of the San Juans, which is housed in the original bank structure. Follow the footprints down Fifth Street to the Circle Park bridge, go around the pond and see the remains of the 1900 Hydro Plant.

Head up the trail to the cemetery along the crest of the hill and take the trail into the cemetery, head south to the gravesites of the bank robbers and read the rest of the story on the bank robber sign.

If you would rather drive, take the 10th Street Bridge and follow the directions for the cemetery.

You also have the option of visiting the Milk Creek Battlefield Memorial by heading East on Hwy. 13 and turning right on County Rd. 15. Go 17 miles to see the pavilion, signage and memorial. You will want to plan a day trip to read and learn the history of this historical place.

For a further historical experience, drive up County Rd. 8 to County Rd. 6 to see the Coal Creek School House that has been fully restored and designated. This school served the children of our community from 1892 until 1948.

To get a clear picture of what occurred on the fateful day of the Meeker Incident, you can drive West on Hwy. 64, six miles west of Meeker to Powell Park, to find the historical markers representing the Meeker Incident.

The Historical Society has been busy and has more signage in process, including the Meeker Dome and Peterson Swimming Pools and the First Agency on County Rd. 8, a Historic Homes Walking Tour, Meeker Incident Site, CCC camp, etc.

Please visit the new displays at the White River Museum and Garrison. There is a display case showing the guns that were used in the thwarted bank robbery, newly developed cattle and sheep displays, and a beautiful piano.

Please join us for our introduction to the signage on June 24 at Meekerpalooza. Handouts will be available at the Historical Society booth. Cookies and punch will be served at Nana Goose.

Special to the Herald Times

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