Feature

Lofty Ideas

April 1999

Near the junction of railroad and river, in a Denver neighborhood known for decades as the Bottoms, where 20th and Lipan streets intersect, stands a concrete building. The structure, actually an amalgam of structures, built and rebuilt over nearly a century, reminds passersby of the extensive flour milling industry that once dominated this section of the Platte Valley. The building, now called Flour Mill Lofts, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, and will star as a temple of high-end, urban living amid the new waterfront park planned for the area.

Longmont Farmers Milling and Elevator Co., owner of many area mills, built a four-story structure with three silos in 1906 and began operations the same year. The company added several more buildings to the complex in 1917. The mill, known as Pride of the Rockies for its aptly named flour, suffered two major fires in 1920 and 1932. Longmont rebuilt the mill after both fires, and continued operations at the site until at least 1943, when the building was sold to Union Securities. The mill operated under several different companies, including Colorado Milling and Elevator Co. and Denver Flour Mills (according to roofing permits from the 1940s). Due to missing city and county records, it is unclear when the building ceased to function as an actual mill.