About Windsor

The Town of Windsor is a rapidly developing unique community located in the heart of northern Colorado, and situated between the mountains and the plains where open sky meets towering peaks.  It is a place rich in opportunity as well as history pre-dating the town’s incorporation in 1890. A world-renowned archaeological site, the Kaplan-Hoover Buffalo Kill Site, is located along Windsor’s towering bluffs giving testament to a native presence as early as 835 B.C. The later presence of native peoples is scantily documented and early settlers make little or no reference to interactions with native tribes. 

Early Beginnings...
In 1873, a settler named J.L. Hilton built a small house situated half-way between Greeley and Fort Collins. The “half-way” house, as it became known, directed travelers along a route, which was soon adopted by the Greeley, Salt Lake and Pacific railway. The railroad brought investors and farmers to Windsor in increasing numbers. Windsor’s rich alluvial plains lent themselves to extensive wheat production and the establishment of one of the town’s first commercial enterprises, a flour mill, which through a subsequent fire in 1899, was rebuilt and became the Windsor Milling and Elevator Company. 
Sugar BeetFarm
The Sugar Beet Industry...
Like many northern Colorado towns, the sugar beet forever changed the shape and composition of Windsor. Wheat fields were replaced with lucrative sugar beets, which were chopped, processed, and refined into table sugar by the Great Western Sugar Company from 1905 until the plant’s closure in 1966. The Great Western Sugar Co. attracted large immigrant families from Kansas and Nebraska who had emigrated as Germans-from-Russia to hand pick and cultivate the beets essential to the company’s industry.

(Left)  Sugar beet harvest, circa 1915. Field workers would pull sugar beets from the ground, cut the large leaves from the top of the beets, and pile beets up in the field for pick up. Wagons filled with sugar beets went to nearby beet dumps where the beets were dumped into a train car and delivered to factories for processing.
(Above) View of Main Street Windsor, c. 1903. Horse and buggies line Windsor’s commercial downtown while electricity poles and cement sidewalks testify to the town’s increasing modernity.
Commercial and Population Growth...
Windsor’s period of sugar beet production parallels its growth as a town. Commercial buildings opened along Main Street offering a multitude of services to its residents, from jewelry to furniture, brand new automobiles, and the lure of the soda counter at the general store. The number of school-age children in Windsor swelled to such a number that overcrowding necessitated the construction of several new schools, including the Park School. The Park School, located on the corner of Third and Walnut Streets, serves as the present location of Windsor’s Town Hall. Windsor’s historic buildings stand as testament to the wealth of the sugar beet industry and the entrepreneurial spirit of its residents.
Historic photo of Park School
(Above) Park School, c. 1910. Initially used as Windsor’s high school, the building was converted to a grade school in 1918 with the construction of a new high school. The Park School educated students until its closure in the late 1970’s and conversion to Town Hall in the 1980’s.
Industrial Growth...
By the end of the first quarter of the 20th century, German-from-Russia families were operating many of their own farms and Mexican workers replaced them in the fields. The sugar beet industry in Windsor drew to a close in 1966 and subsequent industries, including a Kodak processing plant, continued to employ generations of Windsor residents. Today, Windsor leads the way for northern Colorado in attracting green industry. In addition to wind mill blade production, the area supports ethanol production, a recycling facility, and other green industries.Windsor has experienced unprecedented growth since 2000 and continues to attract families with its small town charm and quality of life. Windsor has managed to balance its growth while maintaining the small-town feeling its residents are proud to call home.
A Short History of Windsor contributed by the Town of Windsor Museum Staff. Visit the Art & Heritage pages in this web site for more information about the history and Art & Heritage of Windsor Colorado.