Happy 100th Birthday, Rifle | PostIndependent.com

Happy 100th Birthday, Rifle

A century old today happy birthday Rifle.After 100 years, the only town in the nation named “Rifle” is as vibrant as ever. With a population base of more than 7,000 and a booming business economy, Rifle is speeding toward the future in high gear. It’s a pace that many would like to see slow down a little, but that pace is now an undeniable reality.With residential growth and more businesses on the way, Rifle will be facing plenty of challenges in the years to come. But overcoming obstacles and bumps in the road is something Rifle has always handled well.How a community rebounds from hard times is the truest test of a community’s character. For Rifle, it has been the economic busts that have defined its character.In the mineral-rich region of western Garfield County, Rifle has seen vanadium, uranium, oil shale and, now, natural-gas industries impact its economic base. As the gas-drilling boom continues, longtime residents must wonder how long it will last. Just like the booms before, will it pack up and leave town?When Exxon locked its gates on May 2, 1982, the oil-shale boom’s door of prosperity was slammed shut. It was one of the darkest days in Rifle’s history. Thousands were left jobless, businesses closed and the town’s economy went belly-up.But like before, the town and its residents rebounded and recovered. Rifle will never be the small, quaint little town it once was, but it will never be the economic desert it was when oil shale left town, either.A century ago, Rifle was about farming, ranching, railroads and mining.How times have changed. Farming and ranching are still prominent in some areas, and there are many natives who still call Rifle home 100 years after their ancestors picked Rifle, but times have indeed changed.Times have changed and so has Rifle. But after 100 years, and many struggles, Rifle has survived and is as strong as ever.Rifle is many things to many people, and at 100 years old, it’s a town full of character thanks to overcoming the hardships and enjoying its successes. It’s stronger because of both.Happy birthday Rifle – you’ve earned it.

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