Meeker Day Trips
Cultural Heritage in Meeker
Over 10,000 years ago Nomadic tribes first inhabited this fertile valley, hunting game and foraging plants. The Ute Indian tribe, descendants of these early people, called themselves ‘Yampatika,’ or ‘those who eat the root of the yampa plant.’ The Ute could not withstand the surge of settlers moving West. Upon their removal to reservations, Meeker became the first incorporated town in northwestern Colorado in 1885. Even though its setting was remote, with no railroad connections, Meeker was the central banking and trading hub in the region for several years. People were attracted to Meeker’s remoteness and the area’s wilderness and untamed adventure. Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, was among them. He came to town on several occasions while hunting wild-game and fishing its gold medal waters.
Take the Tour
1. Buford School
The Buford School served as the learning center of Buford from 1902 to 1952. Its intact setting and associated privy conveys the rural school experience of children in northwestern Colorado. For generations, the building stood at the core of the White River Valley’s daily life.
2. Hay’s Ranch Bridge
This pin-connected, six-panel steel Pratt pony truss built in 1901 is one of Colorado’s earliest state-funded vehicular bridges and one of the oldest roadway trusses in the region. Its slightly bowed top chord represents an unusual modification of the Pratt pony truss.
3. Milk Creek Battlefield
In September of 1879, Ute warriors fought here against U.S. troops under the command of Major T. T. Thornburgh. The battle began when the military entered Ute land on an expedition from Fort Steele, Wyoming to the White River Indian Agency (near Meeker). The battle site covers 1,600 acres in Milk Creek Valley.
Location: 560 Main Street
Built in 1896, this two-story brick building reflects the style of small western town commercial buildings of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. President-elect Teddy Roosevelt stayed here while on a hunting trip before assuming the Presidency in 1905.
Location: 368 4th Street
This stone building was the first church in Meeker and one of the oldest Episcopal churches in Colorado. Built in 1890, the main entrance is topped by a unique bell tower faced with wood shingles.
6. White River Museum
The rough hewn log building was built in 1880 as quarters for U.S. Army officers. The army pulled out in 1883 and sold the officers’ quarters to the town for $100 each. The museum was a private residence until 1945.