The Beaux-Arts Greeley Tribune Building opened in 1929 to house the operations of the Greeley Tribune, Weld County’s oldest newspaper. From 1937 until the mid-1950s, the building also contained the offices of the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, which administered the Colorado–Big Thompson Project. The Greeley Tribune moved to new offices in 1986, and after extensive renovations the former newspaper building reopened in July 2005 as the Greeley History Museum.
Charles Hansen’s Tribune
In 1870, Nathan Meeker (1817–79) founded the town of Greeley and the Greeley Tribune, one of Weld County’s oldest businesses. Prior to coming to Colorado Territory, Meeker had worked as the agricultural editor of the New York Tribune, a perch from which he advocated the establishment of agricultural cooperative communities in the West. When Meeker arrived in Colorado to set up such a community, he named the town in honor of Horace Greeley, his former boss at the New York Tribune, and named the town’s newspaper after the New York Tribune.
In 1913 the Tribune merged with its main rival, the Greeley Republican. The combined paper was called the Greeley Tribune Republican for many years. It was published by the Tribune Republican Publishing Company under the direction of Charles Hansen (1873–1953). In 1929 Hansen moved the entire newspaper operation—news desks, administrative offices, and presses—to the new Greeley Tribune Building on Eighth Street. The building became a local landmark, and citizens often gathered there on Election Day to hear the results as they came in.
The Tribune Building was the work of Sidney G. Frazier, who is regarded as one of Greeley’s most important architects. Frazier got his start in Denver, where he worked for prominent architects such as the Baerresen Brothers and William E. Fisher, before opening his own firm in Greeley in 1919. Known primarily for his school buildings, Frazier used many different styles throughout his career. For the Tribune Building he designed an elegant one-story Beaux-Arts structure. The building has a brick-and-concrete facade with terra-cotta trim. It is Frazier’s only Beaux-Arts building, perhaps the only example of that style in Greeley, and one of the few in Colorado.
Hansen continued to publish the Greeley Tribune until his death in 1953. He used the paper to promote his pet issue, water conservation, and was a staunch advocate of the Colorado–Big Thompson Project. He served as president of the board of the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District after it was established in 1937 to administer the Big Thompson Project. The water conservancy district’s offices were located on the garden level of the Tribune Building until the mid-1950s.
The newspaper built modern additions on both sides of the Tribune Building in the 1960s and ’70s. The interior of the main building was remodeled in the early 1970s, when electronic typesetting equipment was installed. The newspaper added its first computer in 1980, making it an all-electronic publication. Other than those changes, the building remained essentially in its original condition until the newspaper moved to new offices in 1986.
Greeley History Museum
After the newspaper relocated, the Greeley Tribune Building was used for storage. Greeley Tribune publisher Dave Trussell also used it for his model railroad hobby before he opened the Freight Station Museum. In 2002 Greeley voters approved an initiative to improve cultural and recreational amenities throughout the city, which included establishing a new Greeley History Museum. Using money from the initiative, the State Historical Fund, and the Hazel E. Johnson Estate, the city acquired the Tribune Building and renovated it, adding a glass atrium on the west side to connect it to the building next door. The Greeley History Museum opened in the Tribune Building in July 2005. In addition to the museum’s exhibits and artifacts, the building also houses the Hazel E. Johnson Research Center, which contains newspaper, manuscript, and photograph collections documenting the history of Greeley and Weld County.