Friday, November 26, 2010

The Sugar Beet Factory


In the 1900, sugar beets were a profitable product in many states around the country. One person who took note of this was businessman W. J. Murphy, who was the founder of the Arizona Improvement Company for water and land development. Glendale was one of the many growing agricultural communities connected to a canal and irrigation system, which makes it a great location for a sugar beet factory.

Since the early 1880’s, sugar beet factories were built in many states with the desire of changing sugar beets into granulated sugar. Murphy pushed for a large factory to be built in Glendale after successful experiments proved that sugar beets can be manufactured in the Salt River Valley.

In the summer of 1903, construction began on the Sugar Beet Factory just on mile east of Glendale’s business district. But by December, construction had to be temporarily stopped because of financial woes leaving only the steel frame standing. By 1906 with construction resuming, the huge factory was completed by the end of July. The main building was five stories high in one area and three stories in the rest. It was surrounded by a boiler house, a lime kiln house, a repair shop, and a 165 foot smoke stack with a 30 by 30 foot base. Also on the land were a sugar warehouse, beet sheds, and an office building. With all the machinery in place, and all the beets in the sheds, the factory was ready to go. On August 11, 1906, with many residences watching with excitement, the switch was thrown, and operations had begun. The first bags of sugar that came off the line were rich in color and very high grade.

Throughout the years the sugar beet factory went through many changes. It had few different owners, was referred to by different names, sustained weather damages, and lost its smokestack after being hit by lightning in 1951. In 1985 the factory closed its doors for good. Today the building is just a shell of what it once was.  It is abandoned with the spirits of the workers still roaming its deteriorating walls.





12 comments:

  1. Jeez, I wonder if we could find out who owns it and get permission to take pics? That is wicked cool!

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  2. Yeah, that would be great. All I could take were pictures of the outside. Also, it would be a cool place to investigate.

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  3. There is nothing more haunting than a closed down factory and I can't even explain why. You can just imagine it is filled with ghosts.

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  4. These are cool pics. They remind me of some I took of one of our old factories - it's not being used as a storage facility. I'll have to put up some pictures that I took of it this past Sept/Oct. It's kinda cool.

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  5. Jessica, those old abandoned factories seem to have an eeriness about them. I am curious to what the inside looks like.

    Tara, I would love to see your pictures. There is something chilling about them old buildings. Some have great architectural features.

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  6. Great pictures, I agree that it would be really cool to investigate.

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  7. Ah, yes, you need to get inside this building! Hope that you are keeping well,

    Jane

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  8. beryl & Jane, I would love to be able to get pictures of the inside too. I'm not sure how safe the building is but I am interested.

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  9. This one has always seemed really creepy to me!

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  10. Debe, it does seem creepy but fascinating for a ghost hunt.

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  11. As teenagers, my friends and I snuck in there around 1984. On the top floor (tower), there is a wall where the workers scratched their names on it. I saw names and years from the 20s and 30s. There is also a 4'4' square hole on the top floor with no guard rails that goes alllll the way down.

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  12. Sugar industry, incredibly, insists that once you look at the research, no expert says that sugar leads to any disease, even obesity.

    sugar cane equipment

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