Rifle, Colorado

Last updated
Rifle, Colorado
City of Rifle [1]
Rifle, Colorado.JPG
Railroad Avenue in Rifle looking north.
Motto(s): 
"Embracing our past,
shaking hands with our future"
Garfield County Colorado Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Rifle Highlighted 0864255.svg
Location of the City of Rifle in Garfield County, Colorado.
Usa edcp location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Rifle
Location of the City of Rifle in the United States.
Coordinates: 39°32′05″N107°46′59″W / 39.53472°N 107.78306°W / 39.53472; -107.78306 Coordinates: 39°32′05″N107°46′59″W / 39.53472°N 107.78306°W / 39.53472; -107.78306 [2]
Country Flag of the United States.svg  United States
State Flag of Colorado.svg  Colorado
County Garfield County [3]
City Rifle [1]
Founded1882 [4]
Incorporated August 18, 1905 [5]
Founded byAbram Maxfield
Named for Rifle Creek
Government
  Type Home rule municipality [1]
   Mayor Barbra Clifton
  Mayor Pro TemTheresa Hamilton
  CouncilorsClint Hostettler
Ed Green
Joe Carpenter
Sean Strode
Brian Condie
  City ManagerScott Hahn
Area
[6]
  Total7.15 sq mi (18.53 km2)
  Land7.03 sq mi (18.22 km2)
  Water0.12 sq mi (0.31 km2)
Elevation
[2]
5,348 ft (1,630 m)
Population
 (2020) [7]
  Total10,437
  Density1,379.87/sq mi (532.75/km2)
Time zone UTC-7 (Mountain (MST))
  Summer (DST) UTC-6 (MDT)
ZIP code [8]
81650
Area code(s) 970
FIPS code 08-64255
Website www.rifleco.org

The City of Rifle is the home rule municipality that is the most populous municipality in Garfield County, Colorado, United States. The population was 10,437 at the 2020 census. [7] Rifle is a regional center of the cattle ranching industry located along Interstate 70 and the Colorado River just east of the Roan Plateau, which dominates the western skyline of the town. The town was founded in 1882 [4] by Abram Maxfield, and was incorporated in 1905 along Rifle Creek, near its mouth on the Colorado. The community takes its name from the creek. [9]

Contents

History

The land that Rifle resides on was once in the heart of the Ute Nation, a classification of the Indigenous peoples of the Great Basin. The most common tribe in the area were the Tabagauche, who hunted and lived on the land slightly to the east of Rifle in the Roaring Fork Valley. Due to their location, the Tabagauche were somewhat less exposed to white settlers, and to some extent their ways remained less altered than other native peoples. In 1878 Nathan Meeker was appointed as the director of the White River Ute Agency (the town of Meeker 40 miles north of Rifle was named after him). Meeker had no training or knowledge of Ute culture, and launched into a campaign centered on sedentary agriculture and European-American schooling. As this clashed with the culture of the nomadic Utes, he was met with resistance. It all came to a head when Meeker had the pasture and racetrack for the Ute's horses plowed under. The event that followed is known as the Meeker Massacre in 1879, during which Meeker and his 10 employees were killed. Aftermath of the conflict resulted in nearly all members of the Ute nation being forcibly removed from Colorado into eastern Utah, although the federal government had formerly guaranteed them the land on which they were residing. [10]

Rifle, 1972 RIFLE, THE MAJOR COMMUNITY OF PICEANCE BASIN, IS A SMALL TOWN WITH A ONE-STREET BUSINESS DISTRICT - NARA - 552602.jpg
Rifle, 1972

Rifle became more and more settled as the 19th century gave way to the 20th. In 1889, the railroad cut through from the east and ended in Rifle for a while before connecting lines were completed. This opened up the floodgates for new travelers, settlers, and trade. Long drives of cattle over the mountains towards the Front Range and Denver became a thing of the past. Rifle was now a thriving hub for commerce. If it needed to be shipped east to a buyer's market, or shipped west into ranching country, it came through town.

The first major economy known to Rifle was ranching. The land surrounding the town was arid, and much of it was unsuitable for farming without irrigation. Despite the large stretches of land available, tension arose and manifested between those who tended cattle and those who herded sheep. Good grazing practices were not in place, and the summer pastures at the top of the Roan Plateau were contested over. One rancher lost two-thirds of his flock and went bankrupt when competing cowboys drove the sheep over the cliff.

Rifle is located in the east portion of the Piceance Basin. The basin is home to different forms of fossil fuels, the largest quantity of which is oil shale. The unreliability of this fossil fuel has left the city in the throes of a cycling boom and bust economy.

As of 2007, an organization called the Campaign to Save Roan Plateau has been engaged in an effort to minimize oil and gas drilling on the top of the Roan Plateau, which locals call the Bookcliffs. The Roan Plateau is accessible from the JQS Trail, located 3 miles (5 km) north of Rifle, or from the Piceance Creek road. [11]

Geography

Rifle is located in the valley of the Colorado River where Rifle Creek joins from the north. Most of the city is on the north side of the river, but there is some city land to the south. Interstate 70 passes through the city along the south side of the river, with access from Exit 90. I-70 leads east 26 miles (42 km) to Glenwood Springs, the Garfield County seat, and southwest 60 miles (97 km) to Grand Junction. U.S. Route 6 runs along the north side of the Colorado River through Rifle, providing a local parallel route to I-70. Colorado State Highway 13 intersects I-70 and US-6, passing through the southern and western parts of Rifle, then leading north 41 miles (66 km) to Meeker.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city of Rifle has a total area of 5.7 square miles (14.7 km2), of which 5.6 square miles (14.5 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km2), or 1.18%, is water. [12]

Climate

Climate data for Rifle, 1991-2020 normals
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °F (°C)62
(17)
69
(21)
81
(27)
92
(33)
99
(37)
102
(39)
104
(40)
102
(39)
99
(37)
88
(31)
79
(26)
65
(18)
104
(40)
Average high °F (°C)36.8
(2.7)
43.5
(6.4)
55.4
(13.0)
62.9
(17.2)
74.3
(23.5)
86.4
(30.2)
92.1
(33.4)
88.9
(31.6)
80.0
(26.7)
65.5
(18.6)
49.7
(9.8)
37.3
(2.9)
64.4
(18.0)
Average low °F (°C)13.4
(−10.3)
19.8
(−6.8)
27.0
(−2.8)
32.6
(0.3)
40.2
(4.6)
47.9
(8.8)
55.3
(12.9)
53.6
(12.0)
45.0
(7.2)
33.6
(0.9)
23.3
(−4.8)
14.0
(−10.0)
33.8
(1.0)
Record low °F (°C)−38
(−39)
−34
(−37)
−16
(−27)
4
(−16)
17
(−8)
22
(−6)
33
(1)
31
(−1)
21
(−6)
7
(−14)
−16
(−27)
−27
(−33)
−38
(−39)
Average precipitation inches (mm)0.70
(18)
0.60
(15)
0.76
(19)
1.01
(26)
1.14
(29)
0.68
(17)
0.96
(24)
1.07
(27)
1.34
(34)
1.27
(32)
0.63
(16)
0.57
(14)
10.73
(271)
Source 1: weather.com [13]
Source 2: xmACIS2 [14]

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.
1900 273
1910 698155.7%
1920 86523.9%
1930 1,28748.8%
1940 1,3736.7%
1950 1,52511.1%
1960 2,13540.0%
1970 2,1500.7%
1980 3,21549.5%
1990 4,63644.2%
2000 6,78446.3%
2010 9,17235.2%
2020 10,43713.8%
U.S. Decennial Census [15]

As of the census [16] of 2010, there were 9,172 people, 3,221 households, and 2,230 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,581.1 people per square mile (610.6/km2). There were 2,586 housing units at an average density of 602.7 per square mile (232.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 81.0% White, 0.5% African American, 1.3% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 13.4% from other races, and 3.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 30.4% of the population.

There were 3,221 households, out of which 40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 30.8% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.8% were non-families. 23.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.81 and the average family size was 3.35.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 30.6% under the age of 18, 9.2% from 18 to 24, 34.4% from 25 to 44, 17.1% from 45 to 64, and 8.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females, there were 106.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 105.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $42,734, and the median income for a family was $48,714. Males had a median income of $36,517 versus $25,527 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,376. About 3.4% of families and 6.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.8% of those under age 18 and 9.8% of those age 65 or over.

Tourism and attractions

Rifle Falls State Park, north of Rifle Rifle Falls State Park (2392380847).jpg
Rifle Falls State Park, north of Rifle
Rifle Bridge in winter on the Colorado River. The bridge, built in 1909, is now closed to traffic and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Rifle Bridge.jpg
Rifle Bridge in winter on the Colorado River. The bridge, built in 1909, is now closed to traffic and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Rifle Mountain Park, located 16 miles (26 km) north of Rifle, is maintained by the City of Rifle. It is popular with rock climbers. [17] Other outside attractions near the city include Rifle Falls State Park, [18] Rifle Falls Fish Hatchery, [19] Rifle Gap State Park, [20] Harvey Gap State Park, [21] and access to BLM land, including Hubbard Mesa Open Area, [22] Rifle Arch, [23] and the Roan Plateau. [24]

6 miles (10 km) north of the center of the city is Rifle Creek Golf Course. [25]

in 2014, the New Ute theater was opened in downtown Rifle. [26]

Rifle is home to the Garfield County Fair Grounds. One week out of the year, the city bustles with activities surrounding family and professional rodeos, Xtreme bull riding, live music, and a demolition derby. [27]

Transportation

The city is served by Garfield County Regional Airport. The state-run bus service Bustang connects Rifle to Grand Junction and Denver. [28] The city is also served by the Union Pacific/Rio Grande line between Denver and Ogden.

Education

It is within Garfield Re-2 School District. [29]

On August 10, 1972, Christo and Jeanne-Claude completed the Valley Curtain project at Rifle Gap, 6 miles (10 km) north of town. The completed curtain hung for only 28 hours before it was ripped by a gust of wind. [30]

A portion of the film Vanishing Point was filmed in Rifle. Scenes include a shot of Kowalski's car crossing Rifle Bridge, and confronting Utah state patrol cars.

Rifle is also mentioned in Stephen King's The Stand .

Notable people

Related Research Articles

Idaho Springs, Colorado City in Colorado, United States

The City of Idaho Springs is the Statutory City that is the most populous municipality in Clear Creek County, Colorado, United States. Idaho Springs is a part of the Denver–Aurora–Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 1,717. Idaho Springs is located in Clear Creek Canyon, in the mountains upstream from Golden, some 30 miles (50 km) west of Denver.

Wasatch County, Utah U.S. county in Utah

Wasatch County is a county in the U.S. state of Utah. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 23,530. Its county seat and largest city is Heber City. The county was named for a Ute Indian word meaning mountain pass or low place in the high mountains.

Uintah County, Utah U.S. county in Utah

Uintah County is a county in the U.S. state of Utah. As of the 2010 United States Census the population was 32,588. Its county seat and largest city is Vernal. The county was named for the portion of the Ute Indian tribe that lived in the basin.

Washington County, Utah U.S. county in Utah

Washington County is a county in the southwestern corner of Utah, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 138,115, making it the fifth-most populous county in Utah. Its county seat and largest city is St. George. The county was created in 1852 and organized in 1856. It was named after the first President of the United States, George Washington. In 2008, a Yahoo News article stated that Washington County had the fifth-highest job-growth rate in the United States. A portion of the Paiute Indian Reservation is in western Washington County. Washington County comprises the St. George, UT Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Mohave County, Arizona County in Arizona, United States

Mohave County is in the northwestern corner of the U.S. state of Arizona. As of the 2010 census, its population was 200,186. The county seat is Kingman, and the largest city is Lake Havasu City. It is the fifth largest county in the United States.

Rio Blanco County, Colorado County in Colorado, United States

Rio Blanco County is a county located in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2020 census, the population was 6,529. The county seat is Meeker. The name of the county is the Spanish language name for the White River which runs through it.

Gunnison County, Colorado County in Colorado, United States

Gunnison County is a county located in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2020 census, the population was 16,918. The county seat is Gunnison. The county was named for John W. Gunnison, a United States Army officer and captain in the Army Topographical Engineers, who surveyed for the transcontinental railroad in 1853.

Garfield County, Colorado County in Colorado, United States

Garfield County is a county located in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2020 census, the population was 61,685. The county seat is Glenwood Springs. The county is named in honor of United States President James A. Garfield. Garfield County is included in the Glenwood Springs, CO Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Edwards-Glenwood Springs, CO Combined Statistical Area.

Delta, Colorado City in Colorado, United States

The City of Delta is the home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Delta County, Colorado, United States. The town population was 9,035 at the 2020 United States Census. The United States Forest Service headquarters of the Grand Mesa, Gunnison, and Uncompahgre National Forests are located in Delta.

Glenwood Springs, Colorado City in Colorado, United States

The City of Glenwood Springs is the home rule municipality that is the county seat of Garfield County, Colorado, United States. Glenwood Springs is located at the confluence of the Roaring Fork River and the Colorado River, threading together the Roaring Fork Valley and a series of smaller towns up and down the Colorado River. As of the 2020 census it had a population of 9,963.

Parachute, Colorado Town in Colorado, United States

The Town of Parachute is a home rule municipality in Garfield County, Colorado, United States. The population was 1,085 at the 2010 census.

Cortez, Colorado City in Colorado, United States

The City of Cortez is the home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Montezuma County, Colorado, United States. The city population was 8,766 at the 2020 United States Census.

Montrose, Colorado City in Colorado, United States

The City of Montrose is the home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Montrose County, Colorado, United States. The city population was 19,132 at the 2010 United States Census. The main road that leads in and out of Montrose is U.S. Highway 50. The town is located in cardinal-western Colorado, in the upper Uncompahgre Valley and is an economic, labor, and transportation waypoint for the surrounding recreation industry. It is also the home of a few major engineering projects, namely the Gunnison Tunnel.

Rocky Ford, Colorado City in Colorado, United States

Rocky Ford is a statutory city located in Otero County, Colorado, United States. The population was 3,957 at the 2010 census.

Meeker, Colorado Town in Colorado, United States

Meeker is the Statutory Town that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Rio Blanco County, Colorado, United States. The town population was 2,475 at the 2010 United States Census. The town is largely an agricultural community, located in the wide fertile valley of the White River in northwestern Colorado. Relatively isolated from other communities, it sits near the intersection of State Highway 13 and State Highway 64, on the north side of the White River and at the base of a long ridge, known locally as China Wall. The Bureau of Land Management has a regional office in the town. Meeker is the home of the annual Meeker Classic Sheepdog trials.

White River (Green River tributary) River in Colorado and Utah, United States

White River is a river, approximately 195 miles (314 km) long, in the U.S. states of Colorado and Utah and is a tributary of the Green River.

Roan Cliffs

The Roan Cliffs are a series of desert mountains and cliffs in eastern Utah and western Colorado, in the western United States that are distinct from the Book Cliffs.

Douglas Pass Mountain pass in western Colorado, US

Douglas Pass, elevation 8,205 feet, is a mountain pass in the Book Cliffs of western Colorado. It is located in Garfield County and is traversed by State Highway 139. The pass divides the watersheds of West Douglas Creek to the north and East Salt Creek to the south. It is named for the Northern Ute, Chief Douglas.

Uinta Basin

The Uinta Basin is a physiographic section of the larger Colorado Plateaus province, which in turn is part of the larger Intermontane Plateaus physiographic division. It is also a geologic structural basin in eastern Utah, east of the Wasatch Mountains and south of the Uinta Mountains. The Uinta Basin is fed by creeks and rivers flowing south from the Uinta Mountains. Many of the principal rivers flow into the Duchesne River which feeds the Green River—a tributary of the Colorado River. The Uinta Mountains forms the northern border of the Uinta Basin. They contain the highest point in Utah, Kings Peak, with a summit 13,528 feet above sea level. The climate of the Uinta Basin is semi-arid, with occasionally severe winter cold.

Roan Plateau

The Roan Plateau is a plateau in western Colorado, USA, in Garfield County. It contains a variety of natural resources and scenic terrain: high ridges, deep valleys, desert lands, waterfalls, cutthroat trout, mountain lions, bears, rare plants, and oil and natural gas.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 "Active Colorado Municipalities". State of Colorado, Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Division of Local Government. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  2. 1 2 U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Rifle, Colorado
  3. "Colorado Counties". State of Colorado, Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Division of Local Government. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  4. 1 2 City of Rifle website
  5. "Colorado Municipal Incorporations". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. December 1, 2004. Retrieved September 2, 2007.
  6. "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  7. 1 2 "QuickFacts: Colorado, United States". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 5 September 2021.
  8. "ZIP Code Lookup". United States Postal Service. Archived from the original (JavaScript/HTML) on September 27, 2004. Retrieved December 24, 2007.
  9. Rifle Shots: The Story of Rifle, Colorado, compiled by the Reading Club of Rifle, Colorado, 1973.
  10. Marsh, Charles (1982). The Utes of Colorado- People of the Shining Mountains. Boulder, CO: Pruett Publishing Company. ISBN   0871086204.
  11. Save Roan Plateau. December 1, 2007<http://www.saveroanplateau.org/>.
  12. "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Rifle city, Colorado". American Factfinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved November 16, 2016.[ dead link ]
  13. "Monthly Average/ Record Temperatures". Weather.com. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  14. "Monthly Climate Normals - Rifle Garfield County AP, CO". NOAA. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  15. "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  16. "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  17. "Mountain Project: Climbing Rifle Mountain Park." Mountain Project. October 29, 2001. December 1, 2007 <http://www.mountainproject.com/v/colorado/rifle/rifle_mountain_park/105744310>.
  18. "Colorado Parks and Wildlife".
  19. "Colorado Parks and Wildlife".
  20. "Colorado Parks and Wildlife".
  21. "Colorado Parks and Wildlife".
  22. http://www.blm.gov/style/medialib/blm/co/field_offices/crvfo/recreation_documents.Par.97530.File.dat/Hubbard_Mesa_Open_Area_Brochure_2011.pdf
  23. http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/crvfo/recreation/rifle_arch.html
  24. http://www.blm.gov/style/medialib/blm/co/field_offices/crvfo/recreation_documents.Par.65455.File.dat/Roan%20Plateau%201%20Aug%202012.pdf
  25. "Rifle, CO - Rifle Creek Golf Course". www.riflecreekgc.com. Retrieved August 24, 2015.
  26. "About the Ute Theater - Ute Theater" . Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  27. "Garfield County Fair & Rodeo July 27 – August 1, 2021 |" . Retrieved 2021-08-30.
  28. "Bustang Schedules". RideBustang. CDOT.
  29. "About Garfield Re-2". Garfield Re-2 School District . Retrieved 2020-05-15.
  30. "Valley Curtain." Christo and Jeanne-Claude. December 1, 2007 <http://www.christojeanneclaude.net/vc.shtml>.