Footprints in the Sugar
A History of the Great Western Sugar Company
written by Candy Hamilton

I wrote this book to preserve as many memories and historical facts as I could
and, in my own way, pay respect to all those who left  their footprints in the sugar.  

                                                                     - Candy Hamilton -
The Great Western Sugar Company changed ownership several times. Today most of the company's factories have been torn down or sit in an abandoned state of disrepair. The positive impact the company had on its employees and communities where its factories were erected have become faded memories. The men and women who dedicated their lives to working in a Great Western factory have long-since retired or passed on, as have the farmers who grew sugar beets for Great Western and those who labored in the fields.

Footprints in the Sugar is not intended to be "the history" of the Great Western Sugar Company but rather "a history" of the company. As the book evolved it became much bigger than anticipated, its subject matter more extensive than originally planned. It became a book about ordinary people and rural towns, personal struggles and industrial triumphs, heartwarming quips and tragic sagas, not a book on how to plant and harvest sugar beets or an in-depth explanation as to how sugar beets are processed into refined sugar.

I believe what evolved from a decade of research and writing is a book that presents a unique perspective of a once grand company. It can be read as a history of an industrial conglomerate or read as a story of visionary men who believed there was more value in sugar beets than gold. 

Footprints in the Sugar

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Chapters in the book:

Origin and Evolution of Sugar

Emergence of the Colorado
Beet Sugar Industry

Great Western Sugar Company Pioneers

The Company:
From Humble Beginnings to Dominance

Their Journey to America

Los Betabeleros (The Beetworkers):
Foreigners in Their Own Land

World War II Prisoners of War in Colorado:
The Unspoken History

From Expertise to Ineptness:
Ownership Root of Demise

All That Remains:
Historical Overview and Status of Sites

Sugar Tramps: Backbone of the Company


Candy and John Hamilton

The idea for Footprints in the Sugar began when John and Candy lived in Johnstown, Colorado. From late 1998 to the summer of 2001 they lived in a home  located on the site of the former Great Western Sugar Company's Molasses Desugarizing Plant. The factory was located on Highway 60 between Johnstown and Milliken; it had been purchased in 1998 by Colorado Sweet Gold, LLC.

While living on the factory site Candy wrote and published a monthly newsletter for Colorado Sweet Gold. In the newsletter Candy always included a page or two about the history of the Great Western Sugar Company and discovered the more she researched the company's history, the more she wanted to know; thus, the genesis of her writing Footprints in the Sugar.

"The company's history has come alive for me inasmuch as I have documented a segment of it. The stories and people have become a part of who I am; a part I will cherish forever."

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