Paths to the Present: Windsor Mill | MyWindsorNow.com

Paths to the Present: Windsor Mill

Caitlin Huesser
For Windsor Now!

Windsor Milling & Elevator Company, circa 1905.

This past month Windsor lost one of its most recognizable historical landmarks.

The Windsor Mill caught fire Aug. 6, leaving only the shell of four brick walls stained with black soot — and smoldering boards on the ground, on which the faint white words "Windsor Milling" could be seen.

Whether you are a recent Windsor transplant or have lived here your entire the life, the mill has been a constant, familiar face of sorts, having overseen the daily lives of Windsorites for more than 115 years.

As early as 1884, there was mention of bringing a flour mill to Windsor. Again, in 1890, the need for a steam-powered mill was even more urgent as more farmers in the area were producing wheat.

The Gillett brothers built the first mill. On Oct. 20, 1896, "the mill had finally started for good, much to the satisfaction of the farmers of this vicinity," according to The Greeley Tribune.

The mill caught fire and burned within the next three years, destroying 900 sacks of flour and nearly 30,000 bushels of wheat July 4, 1899. The loss was significant for Windsor. Not only were the stores of flour and wheat gone, but farmers' ability to process their future crops was uncertain.

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A new mill was constructed in 1900. The Windsor Milling & Elevator Company was larger than the previous mill and had modern milling equipment, making it better equipped to serve the Windsor community.

The mill continued to stand in spite of tornadoes and changing industries. It witnessed exponential change — from dirt roads, horse-drawn buggies and a population of 305 in 1900, to paved roads, electric cars and the hustle and bustle of 2017.

Perhaps history does indeed repeat itself. Today, as it did in the past, uncertainty lingers after the great mill fire of 2017. The loss was significant, but perhaps a new mill building will be erected to better serve the Windsor community, as it did in the past.

— Caitlin Heusser is the Museum Curator for the Town of Windsor.

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