Sugar Building History
The sugar building was constructed in 1906 to house the administrative offices of the newly incorporated Great Western Sugar Company on the site of the former Red Lion Hotel. As the administrative office of the Great Western Sugar Company this building represents the ride of one of Northern Colorado’s most lucrative industries-sugar beets.
Great Western Sugar Company History
The sugar beet industry, pioneered by Charles Boettcher, encouraged the growth of northern Colorado as rural towns expanded to process crops and funnel the resulting sugar into Denver and beyond. The company was formed through the merger of six small independent sugar beet factories. The first sugar beet processing factory in Colorado was built in Grand Junction in 1899. By 1906 sugar beet factories had been built in Rocky Ford, Loveland, Greeley, Eaton, Fort Collins, Longmont, Windsor, Sterling, Fort Morgan and Brush. Tests conducted by the State Agriculture College in Fort Collins in 1879 confirmed that Colorado soil could yield up to 30 tons of sugar beets per acre.
The Great Western Sugar company became the largest producer of sugar beets in the country. The company was sold to Billy White in 1967, and in 1974 he sold it to the Hunt Brothers organization. The company struggled and in 1985 the company, with its six sugar processing plants and five storage facilities over a four-state area was purchased by British sugar firm Tate & Lyle. Tate and Lyle changed the name to Western Sugar Company.
Today the Sugar Building is a premier luxury apartment community in Denver.
In December of 2002 over 1,000 sugar beet growers in Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana united to form The Western Sugar Cooperative.
Inside the Sugar Building are two original Otis elevators with iron cages and gates remain as surviving examples of this vintage landmark. These are quite possible the oldest Otis elevators west of the Mississippi.