Ranch-Way Feeds is the longest running commercial enterprise in the city of Fort Collins. It began in 1868 as the Lindell Mill. Here’s a timeline for the business.
1868 – Henry Clay Peterson and Elizabeth “Auntie” Stone build the first grist mill in the city and name it Lindell Mill.
1869 – The mill begins operations. Over time, flour is sold under various names including Defiance, Jack Frost, Snow Trader, Snowflake and Pride of Colorado
1873 – Joseph Mason bought the business.
1878 – $12,200 in improvements are made and Benjamin Franklin Hottel comes on as partner.
1881 – Mason killed when kicked by a horse. Hottel becomes sole owner.
1885 – Hottel sells to Colorado Milling & Elevator Company but continues to work as manager of the business.
1886 – A fire breaks out in July. The buildings are rebuilt.
1895 – A fire breaks out in October. The buildings are again rebuilt.
1896 – An additional building is added using a stack/plank construction method. Planks were laid flat on top of one another and nailed together. This provided thick walls but also cost more due to the intensive amount of wood and nails needed to build the structure making it a fairly rare form of construction in Colorado. (Watch for close-ups in the slideshow above.)
1919 – The use of the water wheel to power the mill is discontinued.
1948 – The mill switches from flour production to producing animal feed.
1966-67 – Colorado Milling & Elevator Company merges with the Great Wester Sugar Company.
1967 – Ranch-Way Feeds acquires the company.
1976 – There’s a fire on the 3rd floor of the building on July 18th. The structure is rebuilt. A block plant is added on the north side to make protein and mineral blocks for cattle, horses & sheep. The improvements cost $200,000 and are completed by October of that same year.
1994 – The buildings at Ranch-Way Feed are added to the Fort Collins register of historic places on November 15.
Today – Ranch-Way Feeds is locally owned and operated. It produces over 60,000 tons of feed annually and is sold through over 180 independent retail outlets. It also supplies feed to Colorado State University, the Division of Wildlife, and the Denver Zoo.
(Click on the slideshow above in order to see the vertical slides fully.)