“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Fort Morgan in Morgan County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)

Sugar Beets

Sugar Beets Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Beverly Pfingsten, June 13, 2011
1. Sugar Beets Marker
Inscription.  Sugar beets didn't become Colorado's first major cash crop by accident. Scientists, businessmen, and newspapers spent thirty years singing the praises of this starchy root, which as early as the 1860s was found to be perfectly suited to Colorado's climate and soils. Among their other virtues, beets provided a double harvest - the root yielded sugar, while the rest of the plant was marketable as livestock feed. It took decades for local planters to embrace this unfamiliar crop, but when they finally did so around 1900 the prairie economy took off. By 1920 the value of Colorado's beet harvest had multiplied twentyfold, and Colorado had become the nation's top sugar producing slate, accounting for a third of U.S. output.

Great Western Sugar Company
For more than half a century, the Great Western Sugar Company helped drive the economy of Colorado's eastern prairies. The conglomerate built fifteen processing plants along the South Platte and Arkansas Rivers between 1901 and 1910, creating economic opportunity for local farmers laborers, packers, shippers, and sundry other agents. Towns competed vigorously to attract Great Western mills,

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and no wonder: After Fort Morgan's factory opened in 1906, the city's land values soared from $40 to $250 per acre. Great Western prospered into the 1970s, but corporate neglect caused a steep decline; one by one its plants shut down. The Fort Morgan site closed in 1985 but reopened in 1986 under new ownership, and a new name - Western Sugar. Today it and a Greeley mill are all that remain of Great Western's sugar kingdom in Colorado.
Erected 1999 by Colorado Historical Society. (Marker Number 224.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AgricultureIndustry & Commerce. In addition, it is included in the Colorado - History Colorado series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1900.
Location. 40° 16.044′ N, 103° 48.076′ W. Marker is in Fort Morgan, Colorado, in Morgan County. Marker is on State Highway 52, 0.1 miles north of Interstate 76, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Fort Morgan CO 80701, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 4 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Rainbow Arch Bridge (here, next to this marker); Watching River Wildlife (here, next to this marker); Fort Morgan (here, next to this marker); Old Fort Morgan (approx. half a mile away).
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on September 18, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 695 times since then and 10 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on September 18, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.

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Apr. 18, 2024