Today, on the #COVirtualHeritageJourney, we visit the Great Western Sugar Beet Flume located within the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area. Local historian, Ron Sladek reviews the fascinating history of the Great Western Sugar’s 1926 suspension bridge that’s located along the Poudre Trail at Fort Collins’ Natural Area, Kingfisher Point. The flume is proudly listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Colorado once had more than 20 sugar beet factories, supporting tens of thousands of farmers, field hands, and factory workers from the early to mid-1900s. The Great Western Sugar Company (GWSC) operated the factory in Fort Collins, which was located on the site of the current City of Fort Collins Streets Department (625 Ninth Street).
In 1926, a GWSC engineer designed a suspension bridge that supported a metal flume to carry slurry of mostly lime, beet pulp, and water across the river for deposition on company land. The flume was operational until the mid-1950s when the plant closed.
The bridge is a rare example of suspension engineering in Colorado and the flume and bridge together are surviving examples of a historic industrial effluent disposal system, and were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014.
Learn more at the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area website: