Nebraska Sweet Beets: A History of Sugar Valley

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Sugar beets are as tenaciously rooted in Nebraska’s history as they are in its soil, especially in a seventy-mile stretch of the North Platte Valley that extended into eastern Wyoming. The state’s first processing facility opened in Grand Island in 1890, boasting the largest mill in the world. The height of the beet boom occurred in the early part of the twentieth century as Wyobraskan towns courted factory locations as feverishly as rival sugar companies competed for territory, and an irrigation network turned the region into America’s Valley of the Nile. Some rail lines have disappeared from the map, while catastrophes like the Scottsbluff and Bayard sugar bin explosions and the Gering Molasses spill will never be forgotten. From neglected beet dumps and abandoned rail spurs to silos ready for future harvests, explore Sugar Valley’s heritage with Lawrence Gibbs.
ISBN: 9781467144278
Format: Paperback
Publisher: The History Press
State: Nebraska
Images: 135
Pages: 192
Dimensions: 6 (w) x 9 (h)
Lawrence Gibbs worked as an operations manager in the old Great Western Sugar company office before opening a retail hobby shop in Gering, where he spent thirty-four years on the city council and still lives with his wife, Nita. A Marine Corps Vietnam vet, he currently serves on the board of directors of the Legacy of the Plains Museum near Scottsbluff National Monument and is also a member of the Gering LB840 economic development committee.
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