History of Meeker Colorado


The White River Valley is an area rich in cultural heritage and dramatic American history. History enthusiasts are encouraged to visit the numerous historic sites Meeker has to offer as well as the White River Museum housed in the Officer’s Quarters of the old Meeker U. S. Calvary Garrison. Meeker is the location of the Meeker Massacre, the Battle of Milk Creek, the start of the Ute War, and the catalyst for the Colorado Ute Removal Act.


Over 10,000 years ago nomadic people inhabited this fertile valley sustaining themselves by chasing wild game and foraging for edible vegetation. The proud descendants of these people or the ‘Ute’ identified themselves by various names one of which was the ‘Yampatika,’ or ‘those who eat the root of the Yampa plant’. History has come to know them as the White River Valley and Yampa Utes. The Ute lived in the White River Valley area until their removal by the United States government after the infamous and tragic Meeker Massacre in September of 1879.

Soon after the tragic events of the Meeker Massacre and the Battle of Milk Creek, the town of Meeker was incorporated in 1885, and became the central hub of banking and trade in Northwestern Colorado for several generations. Meeker was the first incorporated town in Northwestern Colorado and is the county seat for Rio Blanco County. It attracted numerous famous figures of American history including Billy the Kid, President Theodore Roosevelt, and a small bank robbery gang.

Until the last few decades, Meeker was a stable agricultural community similar in growth and size as other towns in Northwestern Colorado. Recently Meeker has expanded into the energy industry and oil, natural gas, and coal are the primary economic drivers for the local community. Like many small towns throughout the nation, Meeker is a close knit community and sponsors many community events, such as dances, festivals, fairs, and other venues of entertainment. Included in these events is the Meeker Annual Sheepdog Classic and Fourth of July Range Call Celebration.

Click below to learn more about our History, the White River Museum and the Heritage Culture Center.