Past comes alive at Rifle’s centennial celebration |

Past comes alive at Rifle’s centennial celebration

Heidi Rice
Western Garfield County Staff

RIFLE ” Among the more than 800 people who turned out Thursday night for the city’s 100th birthday party at Centennial Park, there was a very special guest.

Richard “Dick” C. Maxfield, 69, of Greeley, is the great-great-grandson of Abram W. Maxfield, who founded the city of Rifle in 1882. The city was officially incorporated on Aug. 18, 1905.

“My grandfather was his grandson,” Maxfield said, with a twinkle in his eye. “But I never knew the story until I read the book ‘Rifle Shots’ and started working on the family history.”

According to ‘Rifle Shots,’ a historical book put out by the Rifle Reading Club in 1973, Abram W. Maxfield came to Rifle on Aug. 2, 1882, staked a claim for his ranch and with his son, Clinton, built the first cabin in Rifle on the block of Second and Third streets and East and Whiteriver avenues.

The Maxfield family ” Dick’s parents and grandparents ” worked as farmers and ranchers and eventually spread out to the Greeley area and Grand Junction. None of the family currently lives in Rifle.

Along with reading about his ancestors in ‘Rifle Shots,’ Maxfield also contacted Kim Fazzi, director of the Rifle Creek Museum.

“It was the 1980s when I discovered (the family history) and the mid-1990s when I met some of my relatives in Grand Junction,” Maxfield said. “Nobody ever talked about it. I kind of found out by accident. But I guess through history you kind of get disconnected.”

Maxfield was recognized as a special guest and introduced at the birthday party as a descendant of the city’s founder.

“I love the Western Slope,” he said. “I love this area.”

As did his great-great-grandfather.

The party included a free barbecue dinner, birthday cake, proclamations by the city and Gov. Bill Owens, a dedication of Centennial park and the unveiling of the Centennial time capsule. Music was provided by Wild Blue Country, a U.S. Air Force Academy band from Colorado Springs.

“It’s been super in every way,” said Susan McKeon, Centennial events coordinator. “The weather, the people, the help, the turnout, the kids and the families.”

“This is a good representation of our community. Our goal was to have a real community event.”

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