Boettcher Foundation Donates Over $10,000 to Attract Matching Funds to Save the Loveland Great Western Railway Depots

PHOTO BY KENNETH JESSEN. Loveland Great Western depot.

The Boettcher Foundation has graciously awarded a grassroots committee of the Loveland Historical Society a $10,000 grant to aid in moving the Great Western Railway Depots currently located at 9th and Monroe in Loveland. The depots are currently located on private property and are subject to being torn down if funding is not raised to move these structures.

Charles Boettcher built his family’s fortune through a variety of diverse business pursuits that reflected the boundless opportunities in the young state of Colorado in the late 1800s. Charles Boettcher was a co-founder of the Great Western Sugar Company and instrumental in the creation of the Great Western Railway.

The Great Western passenger depot was built at the same time the Great Western Railway was established to facilitate the shipping of sugar beets from outlying farmers’ beet dumps to the factory. While the railway’s main purpose was to transport beets, sugar, molasses, coal, and lime rock it also began operating passenger service. Passenger service by the Great Western Railway was provided year-round, simultaneously with the seasonal beet campaign from October to March. Passenger service began in 1917 but was discontinued in 1927. The depot was then used for records storage and closed in the mid1980s when it was boarded up for protection.

Over the last 120 years, the sugar beet crop has brought millions of dollars to local economies in Berthoud, Brush, Fort Collins, Greeley, Longmont, Loveland, and other places along the northern Front Range. The production and processing of sugar beets was the most economically important industry throughout northeastern Colorado during the early decades of the twentieth century, and these depots played an integral role in the industry’s success. Nearly every prominent name in Loveland was associated with the Great Western Sugar Factory when the company and its railway began, right through the next eight decades. Hundreds of blue-collar working people made their living and raised their families in and around Loveland because of their jobs at the Great Western Sugar factory.

The goal of the committee is to raise $86,000 needed to move the depots approximately 1,000 feet onto city property. The next step would be to restore the buildings through grant funding and open them to the public. The group has raised $20,000 of the funds needed to move the buildings.

The Boettcher Foundation has extended a challenge grant to the committee to raise an additional $15,000 before November 1, 2022. Once this funding has been obtained, the Boettcher Foundation will provide another $15,000 match to support this project for a total of $25,000.

Donations can be made at lovelandhistorical.org or by mail at P.O. Box 7311 Loveland, CO, 80537.

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