Rangely, CO

The town of Rangely is located on CO State Highway 64 in northwest Colorado. It had a population of 2,365 as of the 2010 census. White folks first settled around Rangely in 1882, and by 1913 there were enough ranching and farming families in the area that the first shool was built. Now is was known early on there was oil in the area, and the first shallow oil wells were drilled in 1903 with minimal production. Then in 1932 Chevron tapped into a very large oil reservoir with its deep oil well, Raven A-1. There was not much demand for oil at the time, so the well was capped. Then World War II came along, the demand for oil skyrocketed, and Rangely became an oil boomtown. By 1946 deep oil well drilling was the major industry in and around Rangely. Production from Rangely's oil field (the Rangely Weber Sand Unit) is still a major industry in the area. Rangely is also a favorite destination for hunters, fishermen, and four-wheelers. I spent some time in Rangely during a road trip in July 2020.

Rangely Business District along Main Street (CO State Highway 64). The only stores you'll ever need.

View east down Main Street

View West Down Main Street

Rangely Liquor Store
719 E Main St.

Sweet Briar Boutique
713 E Main St.

Main Street Pub
707 E Main St.

Laura's Corner Butcher Shop
637 E Main St

Elks Lodge #1907
633 E Main St.

Rangely Municipal Building
209 E Main St

West CO 64 crosses the White River just after leaving Rangely. The name of the river also happens to be the name of the county (Rio Blanco) in which Rangley is located.

White River

White River

Rangely Museum (aka Rangely Outdoor Museum)

The Rangely Museum recounts the history of the area from the earliest Native Americans through the discovery and production oil in and around Rangely. The museum contains Rangely’s first jail, a couple of old school houses, a way cool fire engine, lots of vintage machinery, and more.

Museum Sign

Welcome to the museum

Stroll down memory lane

1913 School House

This is a well traveled building. After a couple of previous moves the 1913 School House ended up at Town Park, where it housed the Rangely Museum starting in 1975. After another interim move, it finally made it to its current location at the Rangely Outdoor Museum in 1995.

1913 School House

Chevron Recreation Hall

I assume this building was donated to the museum by Chevron. It houses the museum office, bookstore/giftshop, and various displays. Most of the display area was closed due to COVID when I was there.

Chevron Recreation Hall

Museum Bookstore

Arrowhead and Spear Point Display

Rangely's First Jail contains only 2 cells (but each cell has 2 bunks).

Rangely's first jail

Jail Interior

Jail cell

Wolf Canyon School - I couldn't find any information about this school

Wolf Canyon School

School Room

Teacher's Desk

Outdoor Exhibits

Have no idea what these are

Ore Cart

The building in this photo houses a 1940s?
Rangely Fire Truck in pristine condition

Roman Chariot Wannabe

Early Road Grader

Raven 1A Memorial Pump Jack

Rangely Automotive Museum

This was the biggest disappointment of my trip to Rangely. The museum was CLOSED because of you know what. I got a nice photo of the museum building, but I'll have to come back another time to check out all the bodacious autos inside.

Museum Sign

Rangely Automotive Museum

The TANK Center for Sonic Arts

The "TANK" was originally built as a railroad water tank around 1940. The tank was moved to Rangely in the mid-1960s to be used in fighting fires. This didn't quite pan out, as the ground on which it was placed couldn't support the weight of the fully filled tank. On the flip side, settling of the tank slightly bowed its floor, accentuating it's unique accoustical properties. Sound artist Bruce Odland in 1976 was the first to fully appreciate the amazing resonance and reverberation produced in the tank, and it became a performing and recording studio for a small number of artists. A group called Friends of the Tank secured funding to purchase the tank, provide utilities and other infrastructure, and make other improvements to get it officially changed from storage facility to assembly hall and obtain a Certificate of Occupancy. The TANK officially opened in 2015, and now hosts a variety of musical venues attracting both homegrown and nationally acclaimed musicians. The TANK is open to the public on Saturdays, 9AM to 1PM.

I visited the TANK in July, 2020 and just happened to get there as Executive Director Jim Paul and associates were installing an new sign. Jim was kind enough to give me a brief tour of the TANK. I wasn't expecting to photograph the TANK interior (and my built in flash wasn't up to it) so some of the photos are a little noisy (as in digital noise).


Jim and Colleagues install a new sign

TANK interior


Xylophone with wood tone bars

Printed names around the interior wall

Another xylophone

Office is in a repurposed shipping container, cool

the TANK

Background information obtained from Wikipedia, tanksounds.org, and other internet sources.
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