In an attempt to write an article about which buildings in Loveland remain that were featured in the 1886 Sanborn map, I have instead found myself mired in trying to figure out the history of the mills of Loveland. (For a peak at which buildings in Fort Collins remain from the 1886 Sanborn Map, start with this article — “These Fort Collins buildings remain: Sanborn Map (1886) page 1.” This was what I was hoping to do with Loveland. I thought it would be easy. *sigh*)

The Loveland 1886 Sanborn Map is a one page affair with an inset building to the upper left of the Loveland Milling & Elevator Company. In other words, I was trapped at first glance. I knew the building was no longer in existence, but when was it built? When was it torn down? What was its story? I haven’t been able to answer these questions yet. But I have found out quite a bit (of sometimes contradictory or confusing) information about the mills of Loveland. So I thought I’d put together a timeline, including links to where I’ve gathered information, with hopes that readers can help to fill in the blanks and solve some of the confusion. I’ve already received helpful information from Jon-Mark Patterson and Olivia Lowe. I’ll include that below as well.

You’ll note that anything ground or sliced is “milled.” So at times you have to take in the context to know what kind of mill it is that you’re reading about. The sugar mill and a plaster mill both get a mention in here, though you’ll note they’re called by the same names as some of the local flour mills.


Andrew Douty built a wood frame mill that stood three stories high. It was located approximately where 8th St. SE and S St. Louis Ave are today. (“Douty Mill in St. Louis lost to history,” by Ken Jessen. Reporter-Herald. 13 May 2016.)


“Douty passed away in 1874 and Abner A. Leonard and son purchased the mill from the estate four years later.” (“Douty Mill in St. Louis lost to history,” by Ken Jessen. Reporter-Herald. 13 May 2016.)


James Ferguson and Frank Harrison purchased the land where the Loveland Mill would later be built (on 3rd Street). (Information from Olivia Lowe’s timeline on the Loveland Feed & Grain building.)


Frank Harrison builds Loveland Mills on 3rd Street site (where Loveland Feed & Grain is today). (Information from Olivia Lowe’s timeline on the Loveland Feed & Grain building.)


“Soon after arriving in Colorado [Edward Hayden Hall] engaged in business at Loveland, in partnership with Hon. John J. Ryan and S. B. Harter in the erection of the Loveland elevator.” (Fort Collins Express, 1 January 1894.)

“The Loveland Elevator and Milling company has commenced manufacturing flour. A large amount of wheat has been stored in the Loveland elevator during the past week.” (Fort Collins Courier, 25 November 1882.)

“John Wood, who has been working at the Loveland mill, cut his foot very badly while chopping kindling to start the engine a few days ago.” (Fort Collins Courier, 25 November 1882)

“A large quantity of wheat is being brought to town now, as both the elevators and Bartholf & Johnson are buying.” (Fort Collins Courier, 25 November 1882.)

“E. H. Hall, of the Loveland Elevator company, returned to that place on the 1:55 train, having been in Collins since Thursday evening.” (Fort Collins Courier, 21 December 1882.)


“The Loveland Elevator company and Bartholf & Johnson are kept busy these fine days loading wheat for the Denver market.” (Fort Collins Courier, 3 May 1883.)

“Fire at Loveland
“A destructive fire occurred at Loveland last Saturday night. The Loveland mills and elevator, owned by Frank Harrison, were destroyed with all the machinery and contents except 1,000 sacks of flour, which were removed while the fire was in progress. The fire was discovered about 11 o’clock at night and the alarm at once given but the flames spread so rapidly that attempts to save the building were unavailing. The mill contained about 1,400 sacks of flour and the elevator some 5,000 bushels of wheat, all of which was burned up with the exception of 1,000 sacks of flour saved through the efforts of the citizens. The property is believed to have been set on fire. The loss is estimated at $10,000, on which there was an insurance of $14,000. The loss is not only a serious one to Mr. Harrison, but falls heavily on the town as it was nearly a new mill and an important factor to the manufacturing interests of Loveland.” (Fort Collins Courier, 26 July 1883. I would not have found this tidbit if Olivia Lowe had not put me on to it. It didn’t show up in any of my searches for the Loveland mill.)

“Mr. E. H. Hall, secretary of the Colorado Loan association, has removed to this city, and now makes his permanent residence with his brother-in-law, Prof. Blount. The Loveland Elevator company, of which M. Hall is a member,and the business of which has required his presence in Loveland, has leased its elevator building to Mr. Frank Harrison —whose mill was recently destroy by fire–for one year. We are pleased to welcome Mr. Hall to a permanent residence with us.” (Fort Collins Courier, 6 September 1883. Another article I wouldn’t have found without Olivia Lowe’s tip.)

“The Loveland Milling company will begin work on their mill and elevator so soon as they have $25,000 of the stock subscribed, and expect to be ready for business by the first of June next. That this mill, if conducted honestly and on business principles, will be of incalculable benefit to the farmers, there is no doubt, but if run by speculators it will be destructive to the farmers who hold stock. In either event the mill is needed and will be of vast benefit to our town.” (Fort Collins Courier, 29 November 1883)

“The Loveland Milling company has filed articles of incorporation with the Secretary of State, and will soon begin the erection of a mill and elevator in Loveland. The capital of the company on starting is $50,000.” (Aspen Weekly Times, 1 December 1883.)


It looks like Abner A. Leonard had borrowed $12,000 from J. H. Wright for the old mill (that Andrew Douty had built), but by the summer of 1884 had defaulted on that loan. An announcement was posted in the Fort Collins Courier on June 12th, 1884, stating that the mill, mill-race, and associated land was to be sold off to the highest cash bidder at auction on the 10th of July in order to repay the note. (Fort Collins Courier, 12 June 1884.) Auction pushed back to August 12th. (Fort Collins Courier, July 24, 1884.) Either no one bid on the property, or Wright won the bid, because… “J. H. Wright, beneficiary under the trustees deed of the Leonard mill property, near Loveland, bought in the above mentioned property at the sale, which took place Tuesday.” (Fort Collins Courier, August 14, 1884.)

By October Wright was making improvements to the mill. “J. H. Wright is making arrangements to put rolls in his mills. He has engaged the services of au experienced miller from Ohio, expecting him here the first of next month.” (Fort Collins Courier, October 30, 1884.)


“Mr. Ault, of the Loveland Elevator company, has sold the elevator and feed mill to W. W. Sullivan & Co., and expects, after closing the business, to move to Fort Collins. Mr. Ault’s industry, experience and ability in handling grain, and honorable dealing, make him an acquisition to any community, and we regret that he is about to leave the town; and especially the farmers, from whom he has taken not far from 90,000 bushels of wheat, either by purchase or storage, express great confidence in their transactions with him–not only in liberal prices and accurate weights, but also in the disinterested opinion given, even when buying, of the probably advance in the market, whereby several held and realized a handsome sum over what could have been paid when offering to sell. And we but voice the sentiment of the farmers of this section, as expressed to us, when we say they regret having their business relations with Mr. Ault severed, and take this method of extending to him their sincere wishes for his future welfare. — Loveland Reporter.  Mr. Ault is well known in Fort Collins, having started the mill of the Standard Milling and Elevator company in this city on the roller or Hungarian system, and made a straight flour of such excellent quality that, while the business of the company was under the management of D. A. Edson, their flour had a ready sale on the local market and a large and growing trade in Wyoming, Iowa and Chicago, and, when freights would permit, as far east an the seaboard. We are glad to learn that in the past year Mr. Ault has not only been successful, but that in a business of considerable extent, involving transactions that so frequently beget distrust , i not unkind feelings, strong confidence and esteem has been established between himself and the citizens of Loveland and vicinity, where the business was transacted. We also take pleasure in congratulating our old coworker on the Courier, W. W. Sullivan, on securing so valuable an acquisition to his business as the Loveland elevator must needs be, and in expressing the hope that his golden gains may equal in number the golden grains required to fill his elevator from foundation to attic.” (Fort Collins Courier, 26 March 1885)

“A company known as the Windsor Live stock, Farm & Mercantile company, consisting of F. C. Avery, A. Ault and D. A. Edson has recently been incorporated. It is the intention of this company to build an elevator and do a general grain business at this place.” (Fort Collins Courier, 28 May 1885, in the “Windsor Notes” section of the paper.)


Loveland Milling & Elevator on 5th Street (inset in the 1886 Sanborn Map).

The old Douty Mill was labeled as Loveland Mills in the 1886 Sanborn Map.


“The wind the past week blew off a part of the roof of the Loveland mill.” (Fort Collins Courier, 27 January 1887)


The City votes to build a new mill on the same property as the mill that burned in 1883 (where the Feed & Grain is today on 3rd). (Information from Olivia Lowe’s timeline on the Loveland Feed & Grain building.)


“$13,500 was the sum paid J. H. Wright for the Leonard mill, [AKA the Douty Mill] instead of the $15,500, as stated last week. Of this sum Mr. Wright takes $8,500 in stock in the new mill.” (Fort Collins Courier, May 28, 1891.) Wright apparently sold the mill to Frank Harrison. See note for next year.

The 1891 Sanborn map shows the same mill on 5th street, but the old Douty mill is no longer on the map.


“And Loveland’s Magnificent Mill Will Be Grinding in Two Months’ Time. THE DIRECTORS HAPPY. The First Step Toward a Prosperous Future for Our Handsome Little Town, as Other Industries Will Surely Follow.
“The Loveland mill be in active operative operation inside of two months. After surmounting innumerable obstacles the plucky and enterprising gentlemen who have had the matter in charge have at last succeeded in getting a loan of $10,000 to equip the mill with machinery and put it in operation, The matter of raising funds to complete the plant had so long hung fire that many who were once its warm supporters had become disheartened  and the opinion was prevalent in some quarters that the mill would never be started. But the officers of the milling company were men of the right make  and never lost heart, and it is entirely due to their pluck and perseverance that Loveland will soon have in operation the finest mill in Colorado. Henry Spotts holds the important position of president of the company, and he has as fellow officers John Westerdol, treasurer, and Elza Darrough, secretary, and these gentlemen also constitute the board of directors, Too much praise cannot be given them by the people of Loveland and vicinity for the enterprise they have displayed in this matter, for the starting of this mill marks a new era of progression and prosperity.” (Loveland Leader, 22 January 1892)

The board of directors was elected for the Loveland Farmers Milling and Elevating Company. Not only was J. H. Wright elected to the board, but he also held $13,500 in stock and notes on the mill. Frank Harrison was put in charge of the mill. (Loveland Leader, 1 April 1892.)

“Bring in Your wheat. The Loveland Mill will take all the wheat it can get, and pay the highest market price for the same.” (Loveland Leader, 6 May 1892.)

The old mill building at St. Louis is up for sale – Frank Harrison owner. (Information from Olivia Lowe’s timeline on the Loveland Feed & Grain building.)


“The Loveland Mill and Elevator Co. retails Nonparoll flour at $1.50 per sack, corn chop at $1.10 per ewt., and oats at $1 per ewt.” (Loveland Leader, 6 January 1893)

The majority of shareholders of the Loveland Farmers Milling and Elevating Company were upset about the management of the business. Two board members left the board because of it and the shareholders in general felt like there wasn’t much they could do about it because the poor management were also the largest shareholders. Charles Maxwell held 350 shares. J. H. Wright held 340 shares. Frank Harrison had 340 shares. M. H. McKune had 285 shares and M. Y. Osborn had 271. Everyone else had less than 100 each. (Loveland Leader, 13 January 1893.)

“Mr. Wild has been stopping at all the large towns on his route to California, and was down as low as El Paso, Texas. to sell plaster paris, or in other words, he is drum mini ; up trade tor his plaster mill. His Loveland mill is put in with other mills, and they are now known as the Consolidated Plaster Company. One of the mills is located at Denver, one at Colorado Springs, one at Loveland, Colo. and one at Red Buttes, Wyoming. This is a great age for consolidations.” (Loveland Leader, 10 February 1893)

The 1893 Sanborn map shows the same mill on 5th street.

There’s a new mill in town — the Loveland Farmers Milling & Elevator Co. on 3rd street.

W. K. Hobson took his place Monday as manager of the Farmer’s mill and Charles Maxwell took charge of the mill elevator at the same time. The mill is now running on twelve hours time and turning out first class flour. They are getting at present all the wheat they can use.” (Fort Collins Courier, 7 September 1893.)


“Besides the usual stores that are requisite to all towns, Loveland has a 250 sack mill and an elevator of 50,000 bushels capacity attached, owned by the Loveland Milling and Elevator Co. The Colorado Milling and Elevator Co. has a 50,000 bushel elevator, with W. G. Amoss as manager.” (Fort Collins Express, 1 January 1894.)

The Big Thompson Mill & Elevator Co. The present, efficient manager of this exceptionally fine plant is Charles Maxwell. Through the kindness of David James, the head miller, a representative of The Express had the pleasure of looking through the mill last winter and inspecting the machinery used.” (Fort Collins Express, 1 January 1894.)

Loveland Farmers Mill and Elevator as illustrated in the January 1, 1894 Fort Collins Express.

The Loveland Farmers Milling & Elevator Co. was defaulting on a loan and an auction was announced. (Fort Collins Courier, 1 February 1894.)

The Loveland farmers mill was sold last Saturday, at Fort Collins, under a trust deed for $10,000, held by C. B. Andrews, of Fort Collins. The Larimer County bank and others who held a second trust deed for $ 5,000 bought it in to protect themselves. Charles Maxwell bid the mill in for the bank. A new company composed of Charles Maxwell, W. C. Davis, J. S. Stuchell, H. G. Shallenberger, J. W. Reed and J. M. Cunningham , under the title of the Big Thompson Milling and Elevator company has been organized and will take the mill and will run it. There is still another note for $5,000 secured by a third trust deed and endorsed by a number of our leading citizens that is left out in the cold and the endorsers will have to suffer the consequences.” (Fort Collins Courier, 1 March 1894.)

“The Larimer County Bank vs. The Farmers’ Milling & Elevator Co. with A. S. Benson et al. intervenors; tried to the court, with judgement for plaintiff.” (Fort Collins Courier, 22 March 1894.)

“Loveland Farmers Milling and Elevator Co., by Trustee to Charles Maxwell, lots 1, 2, 3 and 4, block 21, Loveland; $15,925.” (Fort Collins Courier, 15 March 1894.)

“Tuesday and Wednesday forenoon were occupied in the trial of the case of Jacob Bental and a number of others, of Loveland, vs. The Larimer County Bank, being a suit for the possession of about $5,000 in cash growing out of the trustee’s sale of the Loveland mill in August, 1893. Finding and judgment in favor of the defendant. Plaintiffs gave notice of appeal to the court of appeals. Plaintiffs were represented by Hon. Geo. Q. Richmond, of Denver, and Messrs. Bailey & Garbutt, of Fort Collins, and the defendant by Lyman Porter, of Loveland, and Messrs. Robinson & Love, of Fort Collins.” (Fort Collins Courier, 6 December 1894.)


Charles Maxwell moves to Fort Collins and works for the Colorado Milling & Elevator Co. located in the Harmony Mill. (Fort Collins Courier, 9 September 1897.)


Lee J. Kelim becomes manager of the mill. (Information from Olivia Lowe’s timeline on the Loveland Feed & Grain building.)

Looks like some more land was added to the mill property.   “Sarah L . Barnes to the Big Thompson Milling and Elevator Co , lots 6 to 10  blk 21  Loveland; $125.” (Fort Collins Courier, 12 May 1898.)

“In June of 1898 the mill [on 3rd street] was sold to J. K. Mullen, and thereafter operated as the Big Thompson Milling & Elevator Company.” (Downtown Loveland Historic District nomination form for the National Register of Historic Places, prepared by Carl McWilliams.)


Lee J. Kelim purchased the mill (on 3rd street) and changed the name to Big Thompson Milling and Elevator Company. Charles Maxwell is manager. David James is head miller. (Information from Olivia Lowe’s timeline on the Loveland Feed & Grain building.)


“Under the direction of Lee J. Kelim, manager of the mill [on 3rd street] from 1896-1904, a small coal-fired power plant was installed in November of 1900 that drove the milling machinery and also provided electricity for illumination of Loveland’s streets, businesses, and some residences.” (Downtown Loveland Historic District nomination form for the National Register of Historic Places, prepared by Carl McWilliams.)

“Lee Kelim, manager of the Big Thompson Mills, invited the citizens of Loveland on Saturday evening from 7:30 to 10:00 o’clock, to inspect the mills by the aid of the new electric light recently installed. The Loveland band played the “Big Thompson” march composed for this special occasion by Prof. Roberts. Free lunch of coffee and sandwiches was served.” (Weekly Courier, 27 December 1900.)


The Loveland Elevator on 5th street as shown in the 1901 Sanborn map.

The Big Thompson Mill on 3rd street in the 1901 Sanborn map.

The Hersinger & Harters Elevator (no mill, apparently) in the 1901 Sanborn map (at left, along the train tracks).

“The old boiler that had been used by the Big Thompson Milling and Elevator Co., has been taken to Fort Lupton.” (Weekly Courier, 1 August 1901.)


Mill (on 3rd street) is sold to J.K. Mullen on August 16th, but the name remains the same. (Information from Olivia Lowe’s timeline on the Loveland Feed & Grain building.)


The Loveland Milling & Elevator is on 5th in this 1906 Sanborn map.

The Big Thompson Milling & Elevator is on 3rd in the 1906 Sanborn map.

Hersinger & Harters Elevator is now just a vacant granary by 1906.


“The Loveland mill has stopped grinding till a better supply of coal can be obtained from some source or other. Some people may be in sympathy with strikers, but the number of such is not increasing.” (Fort Collins Courier, 14 August 1907)


“The Loveland mill is grinding wheat this week for the home market. W. E. Hottel is miller.” (Weekly Courier, 12 May 1909.)


“H. E. Kelly, manager of the Big Thompson mills, is making a business tour in the east and south, while R. C. Squires of Johnstown, is looking after the affairs of the Loveland mill. ” (Weekly Courier, 27 January 1910.)


According to “The Operative Miller” (a magazine/publication for those interested in the flour milling business), Loveland Milling & Elevator Co. is a subsidiary of the Colorado Milling & Elevator Co. (Operative Miller, Vol. 19.)


Mentioned in a list of businesses in Loveland was the “Loveland Mill & Elevator Co.” (Loveland Daily Herald, Number 199, 29 March 1915)

“The Loveland Milling & Elevator Company sports a bran new sign on the north end of the building, carrying the new name instead of the old Big Thompson Milling and Elevator Company. It is the work of H. M. McClure.” (Loveland Reporter, Number 18, 14 July 1915.)


The Colorado Milling & Elevator Co., sometimes referred to as the “western trust,” has taken over the properties in this county which it has controlled for many years. Deeds filed for record this morning show the transfer of the property held by the Fort Collins Milling & Elevator Co., the Northern Colorado Elevator Company of Wellington, the Loveland Milling & Elevator Company and the Farmers Milling & Mercantile Company of Berthoud transferred the property held in their names to the state organization. All of these concerns are operated under the management of the parant company which has holdings in this and other states.” (Weekly Courier, 23 March 1917.)

“An employee of the Loveland Milling and Elevator Co. stated this morning that the farmers of the district were not bringing their weat [sic] to the elevators.” Loveland Daily Herald, Volume 8, Number 328, 18 August 1917.)

“Inquiry of H. E. Kelly of the Loveland Milling and Elevator company resulted in Information to the effect that this mill had been grinding, In the past years, from 20 to 35 per cent of Its wheat from shipments of wheat from the northwest. Mills in other Colorado towns, it was learned, had been using In some instances, more than 50 per cent of Imported wheat, and as a result of the food control might not be able to run more than a short time if forced to depend on the local supply, which In some sections Is much shorter than It was a year ago.” (Loveland Daily Herald, Volume 8, Number 283, 23 October 1917.)


“H. E. Kelly, manager of the Loveland mill, received instructions from the headquarters of food conservation that only one sack of fortyeight pounds could be sold to a person living in town at any one of the retailing stores or at the mill itself. A farmer is allowed to buy one ninety-eight pound sack. This ruling goes into effect today and will be strictly adhered to. The local fuel committee, composed of W. E. Banks. W. P. McNary and J. P. Kunce is working in conjunction with F. W. Stover of Fort Collins, head of the Food Administration and will look into and report any and all cases where they may find more than one sack of flour being bought or sold.” (Loveland Daily Herald, Volume 9, Number 34, 4 January 1918.)

The Loveland Elevator Company stood on 5th Street in the 1918 Sanborn map.

The Loveland Flour Mills were on 3rd in 1918.


“PUBLIC SALE We, the undersigned will sell at public auction to the highest and best bidders, at our residence, on WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14—2 p. m. Sharp 146 W. 3rd St., west of Loveland Mill 8 Head Good Mares and Geldings….” (Loveland Reporter, Number 31, 8 September 1921.)

“Sugar Press Prints Pictures Of Old Time Employees Of Loveland Mill” (Loveland Reporter, Number 32, 9 September 1921.)


“Loveland Farmers Give Little to Relief Fund
“Altho [sic] the Loveland mill has advertised that it would receive contributions of wheat for the near east relief fund, and other towns and communities in the state are contributing liberally to make up the state’s quota, few farmers in this section are bringing in any wheat for the car that was to have been sent out soon. Only one or two small contributions have been received here, and these are hardly enough to be counted. The mill will receive all contributions offered, and as the time is growing short, they must he brot [sic] in quickly or Loveland will not receive credit for helping in this nation-wide relief movement.” (Loveland Reporter, Number 62, 14 October 1921.)

“The following constitute the manufacturers’ department to date:
L. V. Amos, Loveland Mill and E. Co.
Lucas Brandt, Loveland Elevator.
J. E. Byron, U. S. Gypsum Co.
H. L. Dickman, Loveland Creamery….” (Loveland Reporter, Number 105, 3 December 1921.)

Loveland Mill Displays In Association Window
The first of a series of industrial displays to be put in the windows of the Civic Association on Fourth street is now in place and is an exhibition of the products of the Loveland mills. The display is attractively arranged and shows the various kinds of products manufactured by this concern. The mill is also offering a prize for the best loaf of bread to be baked by any resident of Larimer county, not a professional baker, and which is made of Columbine flour, the leading brand of the local mills.” (Loveland Reporter, Number 106, 5 December 1921.)


The name of the mill on 3rd street changes from the Loveland Flour Mills to Denver Elevators. (Information from Olivia Lowe’s timeline on the Loveland Feed & Grain building.)


Denver Elevators becomes Ranch-way Feed. (Information from Olivia Lowe’s timeline on the Loveland Feed & Grain building.)


Ranch-way Feed becomes Loveland Feed and Grain. Original investors in the business in 1968 were as follows: Ray Amen, Dean Anderson, John Denee, Elmer Frank, Harry Frank, Orvin Griffith, Rinie Jesser, Dick Saulcy and Lawrence Steiner. Lawrence Steiner was managing partner for 30 years and had the building painted white. (Information from Olivia Lowe’s timeline on the Loveland Feed & Grain building.)


The old Douty “mill was eventually moved [perhaps back in 1891?] to a farm on Madison Avenue near the Great Western Sugar factory. It burned to the ground in 1969. Jeff and Cindy Feneis, when researching their book “Exploring Loveland’s Hidden Past,” discovered what is probably part of the mill’s foundation on private property just north of Eighth Street Southeast and west of St. Louis Avenue.” (“Douty Mill in St. Louis lost to history,” by Ken Jessen. Reporter-Herald. 13 May 2016.)


Clipping from the September 27, 1973 Greeley Daily Tribune.

“Loveland elevator blast kills two, injures five
“by Mike Peters, Tribune Staff Writer.
“A devastating explosion ripped through the Big Thompson Mill Grain Company Elevator in downtown Loveland Wednesday afternoon, killing two men and injuring five. The explosion, which occurred at about 1:45 pm, Wednesday, blew out the concrete side of the 90-foot structure and large chunks of concrete and other debris were thrown a block away. …  F. J. (Bud) Westerman, owner of a clothing store located less than 50 yards from the elevator [at 565 N. Cleveland Ave], said he thought the blast was an earthquake at first. … There was concern for a while that the 70-year-old elevator would collapse, and spectators were cleared from the area. The building was leaning toward the west, but Westerman said it has always “listed” a little. ….” (Greeley Daily Tribune. 27 September 1973. Clipping through Jon-Mark Patterson alerted me to this article.)

Page 67 from Zethyl Gates’ book, Historical Images from the Loveland Museum/Gallery Collection. (Scan courtesy of Jon-Mark Patterson.)


The Loveland Feed & Grain was sold to Artspace. (“Loveland Feed and Grain Saved.” Reporter-Herald. 4 December 2015.