01 Loveland Topping SB B680
Topping Sugar Beets near Loveland, Colo., c. 1910

Since my long range plan is to donate my image collection to the Fort Collins Archive, I mostly buy images that fall within the scope of their collection. The one place I go off-base is with sugar beet images. I love the early images of the sugar beet industry, from families working sugar beet fields, as in the above image, to sugar beet dumps, to the factories. Instead of limiting my sugar beet purchases to Larimer County locations, I collect images from all 13 of the sugar beet factories that once operated in Northern Colorado. Over the next few months, I’ll share those images with you starting with this post of the Loveland sugar beet factory, the first one to open in Northern Colorado.

In 1900, a group of investors approached Loveland with a proposal to build a sugar beet factory. They placed conditions on their offer, including 1,500 acres adjacent to the plant that could be planted in sugar beets, and guarantees from local farmers for an additional 3,500 acres of sugar beets that could be processed in the new factory. Loveland met the demands and in 1901 the first real industrial plant opened in Northern Colorado. Below are a few early images of the Loveland factory.

02 Building Loveland SBF c1899 B680
Building the Loveland Sugar Beet Plant, c. 1900.
03 Loveland SBF c1921 B680
Beet Sugar Factory, Loveland, Colo., dated 1921.
04 Loveland SBF Townley c1910 B680
Sugar Factory, Loveland, c. 1910. Photograph by Townley.
05 Loveland SBF Rky Mtn News c1920 B680
Loveland Sugar Beet Factory and Field, c. 1910.
06 Loveland SBF Esther c1910 B680
Great Western Sugar Factory, Loveland, c. 1920.

In 1905, the investors incorporated as the Great Western Sugar Company and began buying or building other sugar beet factories in Northern Colorado, including the factory they would build in Fort Collins in 1904. You can see my post on the Fort Collins factory by clicking here.

Just visible on the left side of the last image is a beet piler, unloading beets into the large piles that built up at the sugar factories during the harvest season. Below is a beet piler at work at the Loveland factory. I used this image previously in “The Sugar Beet Pilers” but it is too great an image not to repeat.

07 Loveland SBF Piler B680
Sugar Beet Piler, Loveland Sugar Beet Plant, c. 1945.

Finally, here are two recent images of the Loveland factory as it looks today. It is on Madison Avenue just south of East Eisenhower Blvd. Though the buildings are in disrepair, it is worth the trip to get an idea of the scale of these sugar beet plants. For their time, they were big production facilities.

08 Loveland SBF Now 2 B680
Loveland Sugar Beet Factory, November 23, 2017. Photograph by M. E. McNeill.
09 Loveland SBF Now 1 B680
Loveland Sugar Beet Factory, November 23, 2017. Photograph by M. E. McNeill.

Obviously, someone got tired of assuring visitors that this was the sugar factory.

You can see all my sugar beet posts by selecting the Sugar Beets category.


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