Meeker Main Street - 1890 ~ (www.photoswest.org)
Come Walk In The Footsteps of the Ute Indians. This is their ancestral home.
History of Meeker
Located In Rio Blanco County.
Meeker is home to many historic buildings. Of special note is the Meeker Hotel, which was built in 1896 and
expanded in 1904. The hotel accommodated Teddy Roosevelt, whose passion for the great outdoors
brought him to the White River Valley. You can also experience two original buildings of the U.S. Army
Garrison used by soldiers in the 1880s, now home to the White River Museum.
Meeker is named for Nathan Meeker, the United States Native American agent who was killed along with 11
other U.S. citizens by Ute Indians in the 1879 Meeker Massacre. The site of the massacre is located along
State Highway 64 in the White River Valley east of town and is marked by a prominent sign. After the
massacre and the ensuing conflict known as the Ute War, the Ute population was forced to relocate to
reservations in Utah, and the United States Army established a garrison on the current site of the town.
The town emerged as a regional center for hunting by the turn of the 20th century. Theodore Roosevelt
once visited the town on a mountain lion hunting trip and stayed in the historic Hotel Meeker opposite the
The first Fourth of July celebration was held in 1884, and Meeker was incorporated a year later.
For the next twenty years, Meeker was the only incorporated town in northwestern Colorado.
The only bank robbery occurred in 1896, and all three bandits were shot attempting to leave town.
Meeker CO is located at the west end of the Flat Tops Trail Scenic Byway. It's just a few short, beautiful
miles from many access points to the 235,000 acre Flat Tops Wilderness, the 2nd largest in Colorado, and
some say the most beautiful and accessible!
The historic and haunted Meeker Hotel
Spirits of the West
Legend has it: Ghosts inhabit Meeker Hotel
By Joshua Roberts, Daily Press writer
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Friday the 13th. Meeker.
This is a story. A story that some might not believe.
Like most stories that can't be easily catalogued, categorized or explained, you'll either believe it or you
But, if experience has taught anything to a small band of hardworking employees 50 miles south of Craig,
it's to defy logic and trust their eyes and ears. And what they've seen or heard throughout the years has
told them this:
Not all the guests here -- at the historical, 120-year-old Meeker Hotel and Café -- are paying customers.
As one hotel employee describes it, four guests "checked in and never checked out."
"We have everything a traveler would want," said Rik Savering, who's worked at the hotel for three years.
"We have history, and there is definitely something of a supernatural element to this place."
First the history.
Initially housed in a former military barracks, the centerpiece of the building that now decorates downtown
Meeker was built in 1886, and it was expanded with two additional wings in 1904.
Not far removed from a history of hostilities between white people and the resident Ute Indians, the hotel
came to symbolize the new frontier of the West, and the progress befitting of the only incorporated town in
Northwest Colorado, a distinction Meeker claimed for 20 years. Notable guests have included outlaw Billy
the Kid and President Teddy Roosevelt.
According to the town's history, namesake Nathan Meeker arrived in the area as an American Indian agent
Meeker, determined to convert the Utes, whom he described as "primitive savages" into Christian farmers,
set the spark for bloody battles and uprisings by plowing an Indian racetrack. He, along with 10 other men,
were killed after the Indians attacked in retribution.
Although the quaint town may have a history of violence, the seeds of those turbulent times are long-since
buried. Today, the atmosphere at the hotel, like the town, is as quiet and laid back as empty main street on
The rustic, 25-room hotel features an Old West, outdoor décor, an every town USA café, and the friendly
service of staff members. The additional element to the hotel, the part you won't find advertised on the
promotional Web site, is the legend that four spirits, entities, or -- let's just come right out and say it --
ghosts, inhabit the building.
As best anyone can tell, there are four ghosts -- a wandering little girl, a woman, a gambler and a military
man. A wide range of people have reported the ghosts throughout the years, including an employee, a
startled guest and children.
While that may sound alarming to some, employees temper the legend by saying that the ghosts are far
from frightening. Throw out your misconceptions about poltergeists, devilish demons or haunted houses,
Instead, these ghosts are more about good vibrations.
"It can be scary just because it surprises people," said Karen Vinzant, who has been the hotel manager for
six years. "But, it's nothing like ‘Poltergeist' or anything."
She added, "They're not seen very often. Maybe once every six months. Everyone here is real positive, so
they stay positive."
Savering, a Meeker resident and do-it-all handyman for the hotel, paid homage to those four spirits in his
2006 release of "Will I Dream: The Ghosts of the Meeker Hotel." The CD is an 11-track, 48-minute
compilation of ambient music designed to "transport the listener to otherworldly realms."
"I'm the ultimate skeptic, but there is something going on here, man," Savering said. "But, it's a comforting
feeling. It's not foreboding. It's a welcoming, additional presence."
"What we have here is residual energy. We have guests that don't pay."
The last paranormal occurrence reported at the hotel came earlier this month, a few days before the hotel
celebrated its 120th anniversary on Oct. 14.
A guest in one of the rooms reported hearing pacing footsteps in the room next door. The only problem --
no one was staying in the room next door.
On this night, however, there are no ghostly encounters, no experiences transporting the average visitor to
Still, that isn't enough evidence to shake the beliefs of some that the famous Meeker Hotel and Café is a
sanctuary for those in this life and in the next.
"It's all up to the individual I suppose," Savering said.
"If you are sensitive to that sort of thing, you will be impressed. I'm here all the time ... and you certainly get
a semblance that somebody, or something, else is here with you. And people report some odd things."
Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Meeker Hotel
560 Main Street, P.O. Box 129, Meeker, Colorado 81641
From the Meeker Hotel website
The 21st century is upon us....but our guests can still enjoy the nostalgia of the past 19th and 20th
centuries. Colorado became a state in 1876 and just 10 short years later the original Meeker Hotel was
built. This wooden structure endured until the brick structure, with 200,000 bricks, was constructed in a six
month period in 1896. The wings of the hotel were added in 1904. This brick structure still stands today as
the fully operational Meeker Hotel and Cafe. The Meeker Hotel is home to world-renowned trophies of non-
typical elk and mule deer. Our lobby is accentuated with biographies of historic figures such as Teddy
Roosevelt, who associated with the hotel a time or two. Meeker Hotel is listed with the national register of
Early Female Pioneer Founds The Meeker Hotel and Cafe
At this time S.C. Wright was the only female member of the Town Company and known for intelligence,
generosity and hospitality (and the colorful habit of being a late 1800's female who enjoyed a nice mild
cigar!) It is said that S..C. Wright would never turn anyone in need away from the Meeker Hotel. When she
passed away in 1893 she willed the hotel to her younger brother, Rueben S. Ball. R.S. Ball had come to
Colorado June 6, 1890 at 23 years old and established a saloon in Creede, Colorado. It was later
destroyed in the Creede fire at which time R.S. Ball returned to Meeker to help his sister run the Meeker
Hotel. R.S. was responsible for building the structure that stands today. He erected the two story center in
1896 using 200,000 bricks! (Many believed he was still apprehensive after losing his saloon in Creede's
fire). He added the east and west wings in 1904 and it is his enthusiasm for hunting that we have to thank
for the beginnings of the trophy collection in the lobby.
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