Prather’s Pick: A pictorial history of Meeker |

Prather’s Pick: A pictorial history of Meeker

Diane Prather
Diane Prather

“Meeker” was written by Kristin Bowen and is the newest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of America” series. The book became available Sept. 1. It is a collection of over 200 vintage photographs showcasing the White River Valley.

The book begins with a brief but well-written introduction to the history of the White River Valley and Meeker. It begins with the Utes, the Native Americans who inhabited the area before it was homesteaded. In 1868, as a result of a treaty, the White River Indian Agency was formed. In 1878, Nathan Meeker was appointed as its agent. When Meeker’s actions angered the Utes, tensions arose, leading up to the Meeker Massacre.

The author writes about the battle. Later, when the Utes were removed, the Meeker area was opened to homesteading. Included in the Introduction is information about the towns and post offices that sprang up in the surrounding area. Meeker was platted in 1885. There’s information about the ways that the settlers made their livings, too, and more.

The introduction is followed by five chapters of vintage photos, accompanied by descriptions — enough information for the reader to learn about the White River Valley and Meeker’s history. The five chapters are arranged by years: 1880s, 1890s, 1900s and 1910s, 1920s and 1930s, and the 1940s and 1950s.

According to a press release, within these chapters are “glimpses of the people, traditions, celebrations and ways of life of those who lived here before us.”

To name a few, there are photos of some of the Native Americans (including Chipeta, Chief Ouray’s wife), a photo of the Allen Party of 50 men, women, and children who traveled together by wagon train to Meeker, and even the first rodeo held on July 4, 1885 — which has continued every year since.

There are some fascinating photos of Teddy Roosevelt, taken when he visited the Meeker area on a lion-hunting trip in 1901. He stayed for three weeks. There’s a photograph of Roosevelt standing in a corral where some men are branding calves and several other stereoscopic cards of Roosevelt on horseback and with his hunting guides and dogs.

Also interesting is a photo of Elliot Roosevelt, son of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as he works cattle on the family ranch near Meeker.

There are photos of early businesses, settlers, and the insides of homes — all of this and a whole lot more. It is a very interesting book that would make a great gift!

Kristin Bowen, the author, is an archaeologist with the Bureau of Land Management. “Meeker” is her first photographic history book. She compiled it on behalf of the Rio Blanco Historical Society.

“Meeker” was published by Arcadia Publishing costs $21.99 and is available at local retailers, online bookstores, or through Arcadia Publishing at or 888-313-2665.