Jody and Gabriel Lopez are natives of Cheyenne, WY, but have resided in Greeley, CO since 1996. In 2000, they decided to conduct genealogical research. Several ancestors were residents and leaders of Greeley’s Spanish Colony, a 1924 housing project or “colonia” conceived by the Great Western Sugar Company for its “elite” Spanish-speaking workers.
Peggy A. Ford, Archives and Research Coordinator for the City of Greeley Museums, realized the value of systematically documenting information from first and second-generation residents of the Colony. Jody, Gabriel, and Peggy have conducted over 50 oral and video interviews with former baseball players. Soon, the idea for organizing the oral recollections into a book gained momentum. Gabriel and Jody visited individuals, libraries and archives in northern Colorado and southern Wyoming to locate documents, images, and secondary resources.
This research enabled them to obtain many photos, artifacts, quotes and newspaper articles for a roving exhibit on the Rocky Mountain League and other leagues that played against the Rocky Mountain League, exhibited in the Greeley Museum and Cheyenne Civic Center. As museum volunteers, Jody and Gabriel share their research and knowledge about this region’s Hispanic heritage in programs for museums, schools, colleges, and special community events.
As “grass roots” historians, Jody and Gabriel logged thousands of hours to seek, document, and publish the stories of the struggles and accomplishments of Hispanic farm workers who lived in one Northern Colorado “colonia.” From Sugar to Diamonds preserves an important aspect of Northern Colorado’s and Southern Wyoming’s history and culture for future generations. Jody manages the Greeley Museums stores. Gabriel is disabled from Excel Energy. Jody and Gabriel wrote a book about the Greeley Spanish Colony. White Gold Laborers the Story of Greeley’s Spanish Colony.