I recently posted a photo from my grandmother’s collection of an Alfalfa Mill to the Facebook group, Growing Up in Dodge City.
Since my grandparents lived in Dodge City their entire lives, I just assumed that the caption was correct. However, comments on the post questioned whether there was an alfalfa mill in Dodge City.
So, I turned to the newspapers to learn more about an alfalfa mill in Dodge City. I did verify that such a mill existed. Unfortunately, I haven’t located information for the construction of the first mill. Below is a synopsis of what I found.
Dodge City Globe (Dodge City, Kansas) 09 Feb 1911 Thu
The alfalfa mill will be opened again this week. It is a little unusual for the mill to be in operation at this time of year but the farmers held over much of their alfalfa for better prices and are now ready to place it on the market.
The Dodge City Globe (Dodge City, Kansas) 23 May 1912 Thu
Alfalfa Mill Is a Total Loss
Fire Started Early This Morning and Burned Rapidly
A fire loss which will probably amount to between $6,000 and $7,000 occurred early this morning when the W. B. Martin alfalfa mill on west Santa Fe trail street was destroyed.
The building and its contents including machinery and supplies were burned, and no insurance was carried to relieve the owner of the loss.
The fire started between the main building and the shed and many believe it was the work of some incendiary, as there had been no workmen or others about the mill since Saturday evening.
The fire was discovered about 3 o’clock this morning and by four the building was in ashes. Besides a considerable amount of expensive machinery it contained several car loads of alfalfa and other food stuff.
The fire department was powerless to save the building as it was covered with flames before the fire was discovered, but the work of the department, saved quite a number of residences in the neighborhood
The residence of Frank Osburn on the east side of the mill was almost completely destroyed, and the one belonging to Archie T. Keech directly west of the mill was badly burned on one side, but no other buildings were damaged.
Sparks from the fire blew over nearly all of the town from the mill ot the stand pipe on the Central Avenue hill, but most of the people of the town had been wakened by the siren whistle at the city power hose and watched their roofs.
W. B. Martin, the owner of the mill is spending the day in Garden City and he had not announced before his departure whether the mill would be rebuilt or not.
The Dodge City Daily Globe (Dodge City, Kansas) 24 May 1912
New Alfalfa Mill Is in Prospect
New Building May Go Up on the Site of the One Which Was Burned
It Would be Fire Proof
The New Mill Would Be a Cement Block Structure and Would Be Larger than the Old One — Some Are Protesting
Dodge City may soon have another alfalfa mill. It is possible that one will be built this season on the site of the mill which was burned last Monday morning on west Santa Fe Trail street.
Manager W. B. Martin was talking about the matter this morning, and he said that contractors had been asked to make estimates on the kind of a building that would be required for the purpose.
If a new alfalfa mill is put up it will be a thoroughly fire proof building and will probably be larger than the old mill which was burned. Mr. Martin said today that since most of the debris had been removed it was found that much of the machinery had not been seriously damaged and that with a little overhauling it would easily be put into commission again.
It was stated this afternoon that W. P Kilesen of the Farmers’ Elevator company was circulating a petition protesting against the rebuilding o the alfalfa mill but it is not known what objection is made to the enterprise.
The Dodge City Globe (Dodge City, Kansas) 06 Jun 1912, Thu
No Action Taken about Alfalfa Mill
Mayor Bell Favored New Mill While Other Commissioners Opposed It
There is still some difference of opinion abouth whether Dodge City is to have a new alfalfa mill. The matter was presented to the city commissioners again last night and was supported by a petition signed by eighty-one business men of the city asking that the commission rescind its former action denying the company the privelidge of putting up a fire proof mill on the site of the old one which was burned. Mayor Bell was in favor of allowing the mill to be rebuilt. Commissioners Miller and Laughead opposed it, but they took no action last night. They said they would consider the matter again at the meeting next Friday evening.
Manager W. B. Martin was there to represent the company and several of those who opposed the proposition for rebuilding the mill were there to speak to the commissioners.
In speaking to the intention of the company, Mr. Martin said:
“I am unable to tell what we will do. Evidently the city commissioners intend to oppose our putting in a mill here. The quesiton is whether it would be better to go ahead anyhow and be the subject to all kinds of annoying orders, or abandon the field and put up a mill at some other point.”
The Dodge City Daily Globe (Dodge City, Kansas) 15 Jun 1912, Sat
Considerable opposition is developing to having the alfafa mill re built on the location where it burned down. It is argued that it is too close to the oil tanks and would be a menace to the city water works. The Commercial Club may take a hand at securing new site for the company.
The Dodge City Daily Globe (Dodge City, Kansas) 20 Jul 1912 Sat
Produce Company to Build
Site of Old Alfalfa Mill Has Been Purchased and Fireproof warehouse Is to Be Erected There
The wholesale produce company has purchased the lots where the alfalfa mill stood before it was burned and will erect a fireproof warehouse there. Work has already commenced clearing out the rubbish left after the fire and the building will be completed this summer.
C. B. Young of the wholesale company says it has not been decided just the size of the building but that it will be either about 25 by 175 feet or 37 by 75 feet It will be one story of either concrete or brick. The location is an ideal one for a warehouse as it is beside the railroad track and will give a storage house which is needed on account of the growing business of the company
The Dodge City Daily Globe (Dodge City, Kansas) 04 Oct 1912, Fri
The warehouse of teh Dodge City Produce company is to be ready for occupancy in two weeks. It is being erected on the Santa Fe tracks on the site of the old alfalfa mill.
The Dodge City Globe (Dodge City, Kansas) 21 Nov 1912
Plan to Build an Alfalfa Mill Here
Ford County Growers May Form Company to Replace the One Burned Last Winter
Ford county growers of alfalfa are planning to build an alfalfa mill here to take the place of the one that burned last winter. A meeting of some of the leading alfalfa men was held last week to discuss plans for rebuilding. Will Martin, who owned the other mil, has been asked to take a part in the formation of a new company.
It is estimated that a new mill can be put in operation for form $3,500 to $5,00. Alfalfa growers say the mill tends to keep up the price of the hay by providing a steady market. Some growers say that $8 alfalfa cannot be fed here profitably that the grower makes a greater and more certain profit by selling to the mill.
The alfalfa crop in this county this year has been exceptionally good, and the amount of hay produced has resulted in the agitation for a mill.
The Dodge City Daily Globe (Dodge City, Kansas) 12 Mar 1913
Build Larger Alfalfa Mill
Contract Let by Dodge Company and Work Is to Start at Once
The alfalfa mill company has let the contract for the new mill and work is to start at once. Morley Bros., of Wichita, get the contract for the machinery and the shed for it. The latter is to be 16 by 24 feet and 24 feet high. A wetterhold grinder is to be installed, and electric power from the Midland company is to be used. Fairbanks A Morse received the contract to supply the motors.
A large hay barn is to be erected and a store room. Both buildings will be put up by the farmers who comprise the company. The plant is to be built on the Santa Fe spur near the Chris Behl tract, east of town. It will cost, complete, about $4,30000 and will be considerably larger than the plant which burned down.
The Dodge City Daily Globe (Dodge City, Kansas) 26 May 1916, Fri