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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Grants Pass in Josephine County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)
 

Mormon Sugar Beet Factory Site

 
 
Mormon Sugar Beet Factory Site Marker image. Click for full size.
By Douglass Halvorsen, December 9, 2017
1. Mormon Sugar Beet Factory Site Marker
Inscription. On this site in 1916, the Oregon Utah Sugar Company erected a large beet factory. C.W. Nibley, director of the company and presiding bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons/L.D.S.), oversaw the project. Nibley's sons, Alex, Merrill, and D. J.O., and other Mormons knowledgeable in related areas were sent to secure contracts, educate the local residents about beet farming, supervise construction of the plant, and run the operation once the factory was completed.

The sugar factory, though short lived, brought considerable attention and growth to the Rogue Valley. It provided employment for more than 150 people in its construction and operation. Over 700,000 bricks were supplied by a local brick maker, C.E. Woolfolk. Area ranches fattened their cattle on beet pulp, and nearby lime quarry was kept busy. On October 24, 1916, and open house and gala celebration, known as "Sugar Day," marked the first day of its operation. The event was covered by Pathe News, the Grants Pass Daily Courier, and other regional newspapers. Early in 1917, a branch of the L.D.S. Church, with 38 members, was organized in Grants Pass by Melvin J. Ballard. James Hood was branch president, and Jamima Hood served as Relief Society president.

At least 5,000 acres of land with sufficient irrigation were needed to make the venture
Mormon Sugar Beet Factory Site Marker image. Click for full size.
By Douglass Halvorsen, December 9, 2017
2. Mormon Sugar Beet Factory Site Marker
a success. Because the full amount of land and water could not be secured, the project was unable to survive its second year. The entire operation was dismantled and moved to Toppenish, Washington. By the end of 1918, all that remained of the Mormon Sugar Beet Factory was a pile of broken bricks and its huge cement foundations, part of which still exists under the asphalt parking lot of the Fruitdale Grange. The Grange acquired a portion of the factory property in May of 1930 and joined with the Josephine Company-Grants Pass Camp of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers in preserving this historical site.
 
Erected 1999 by Josephine Company-Grants Pass Camp. (Marker Number 524.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Daughters of Utah Pioneers marker series.
 
Location. 42° 25.43′ N, 123° 19.213′ W. Marker is in Grants Pass, Oregon, in Josephine County. Marker is at the intersection of Parkdale Drive and Rogue River Hwy (U.S. 66) on Parkdale Drive. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Grants Pass OR 97527, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Riverside Park Memorial Flagpole (approx. half a mile away); Riverside Park War Memorial (approx. half
Mormon Sugar Beet Factory Site Marker image. Click for full size.
By Douglass Halvorsen, December 9, 2017
3. Mormon Sugar Beet Factory Site Marker
a mile away); Josephine County Peace Memorial (approx. half a mile away); Union Veterans of the Civil War (approx. 0.6 miles away); Memorial to Our Fathers (approx. 0.6 miles away); The Perkinsville Ferry (approx. mile away); The First Brick Building in Grants Pass (approx. 1.1 miles away); Fort Vannoy (approx. 5.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Grants Pass.
 
More about this marker. Marker is located in front of the Fruitdale Grange Hall. The bricks that make up the monument are from the original beet factory.
 
Categories. AgricultureIndustry & Commerce
 
Mormon Sugar Beet Factory Site Marker image. Click for full size.
By Douglass Halvorsen, December 9, 2017
4. Mormon Sugar Beet Factory Site Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 15, 2018. This page originally submitted on January 11, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon. This page has been viewed 85 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on January 11, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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