Grand Junction Colorado History: The Sugar Beet Factory
One of the biggest industries that gave Grand Junction its identity in the early days was sugar beets. In fact, you've probably driven past what once was the Grand Junction sugar beet factory and perhaps not even realized it.
Keep scrolling to learn about this aspect of Grand Junction, Colorado's history.
Origin of Grand Junction's Sugar Beet Industry
Like most parts of Colorado, Grand Junction's first big industry was mining. However, by the late 1800s mining had slowed down substantially, calling for a new industry to move in.
Because of the fact that they thrive in dry climates, sugar beets seemed like the perfect industry to carry the flag for the area.
After tossing around the idea for a few years, a Nebraska company called the Oxnard Beet Sugar Company formed the Bluestone Valley Land and Improvement Company in Grand Junction. This acquisition took place in 1893 and by 1899, Grand Junction was ready to start building a factory.
The Glory Days of Grand Junction's Sugar Beet Factory
Sugar beet production was a major industry for Grand Junction throughout the 1900s, but it wasn't without its setbacks.
A shortage in the workforce forced the factory to close in 1901, but it was reopened the following year by Western Sugar and Land Co. until it was purchased by Holly Sugar Co., who ran the factory until 1929.
However, the factory's glory days seemed to end in 1929 when Holly Sugar decided to close the factory and consolidate operations in Delta.
The Grand Junction Sugar Factory Today
As mentioned above, you've likely driven past what was once the sugar beet factory and not even realized it. The building is still standing at 1101 Kimball Avenue in Grand Junction, just across the street from Las Colonias Amphitheater.
Following the sugar beet production being moved to Delta, the building saw life as the Climax Uranium Mill from 1951 to 1970, and while it is still standing, serves as merely a warehouse today.