Great Western Hotel Tells a Story of Agriculture and Local History

In 1919, the Great Western Sugar Company built a hotel at 250 Kimbark Street in order to house their factory workers. 50 rooms were built to house two men each just west of Great Western’s facility so workers would have a short commute to the plant.

The hotel was one of the largest of its kind built by the sugar company, and upon its completion, an influx of families moved into Longmont. This population growth continued into the 1920s due to the city’s abundant agriculture which included the sugar beets which Great Western harvested for their sugar. The sugar beet industry served as a bedrock of Longmont’s economy and the crop is deeply rooted in our city’s history.

The Great Western hotel has a rich, nearly century old history. As one of the largest buildings in Longmont, the hotel was also used as a community resource. For instance, its large dining room was often used for social occasions in the 1920s.

A more recent photo of the Great Western Hotel, now serving a local non-profit organization. Photo: City of Longmont

In 1943, the hotel was remodeled and used to house up to 180 Italian and German prisoners of war during the Second World War. Farming was vital to Longmont at the time, and the war had created a severe lack of area manpower. Local farmers who needed workers formed associations and contracted with the army for POW labor. Boulder County’s wage boards held hearings to decide on pay rates for the different types of agricultural labor. The farmers paid the government the standard rate for labor, and after paying the prisoners about eighty cents a day, the government gave the difference to the army for housing maintenance and rent, which was paid to Great Western. Having this extra source of income and labor helped keep the Longmont economy thriving during the war.

In 1946 after the prisoners left, the hotel was remodeled again into an apartment house. Today, it serves as The Inn Between of Longmont, a local non-profit organization. The Inn Between’s mission is to provide supportive housing, comprehensive case management and life skills training for diverse homeless families and individuals. Learn how you can help The Inn Between here.

Cover photo courtesy of the Longmont Museum & Cultural Center’s archives.