American Crystal Sugar Factory, Chaska, MN

Construction in 1905

The first sugar factory in Minnesota was built in 1898 in St. Louis Park, a suburb of Minneapolis. However, that factory had a major fire and closed. Chaska, MN was chosen as the site of a new factory and construction began in late 1905. Bricks created by the Chaska Brick company were used to build the main building. Chaska bricks were unique in color. They were creamy yellow instead of the more typical brown. The creamy yellow color was the result of clay used to make the bricks that was found in the Chaska area.

To the right is a 1905 view of the construction of the Carver County Sugar Company as it was called between from 1905 to 1914.

Northwest of Sugar Factory, 1912
This is a 1912 view from the top of the sugar plant looking northwest. In the background the furthest building to the left (the west) is the Manager's House. The next building to the right (centered in the photo) is the factory office (which still exists today). Behind the office is the Carriage House (also exists today). To the right (right center) of the office is the Company House. This house no longer exists but is significant because it was where I lived for the first six years of my life. In the foreground to the left is the small Scale House used when weighing loaded sugar beet cars. Railroad track enterred the factory from the left of this photo.

1915 Photo
From somewhere around 1911-1915 to 1925 the factory was renamed the "Minnesota Sugar Company". Notice the small structures in the foreground. Those structures weren't there any longer in the mid-60s which is as far back as I can remember.

Aerial View Showing Sugar Beet Piles
This is an aerial view of the Minnesota Sugar Company factory in Chaska, MN. The view is from the west looking east. From the middle bottom to the upper left of photo is the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad line. Sugar beet piles can be seen to the right of the railroad. To the right of the center of the sugar beet piles are the small structures seen in the previous photo. The Factory Office, Carriage House and Company House can be seen in the center of this photo. The rail access to the Sugar Factory is clearly seen from the bottom right of this photo.

Aerial View From Southwest
This aerial view of the Minnesota Sugar Company is from the southwest looking northeast. Sugar beet piles can be seen from the left center. The Factory Office is also pictured in the lower left center. It is difficult to see if the small structures seen two photos previous to this one are still located northeast of the factory. A train can be seen rounding the curve in the upper central portion of this photo.

M&StL 452 at the Sugar Factory
M&StL 452, a 2-8-0 was used at the American Crystal Sugar factory in Chaska through 1958. I have also been told that the M&StL used to send this locomotive to the sugar factory each fall for switching duties during the "campaign". 452 may have also been used on "steam specials" out of Minneapolis. Being the last M&StL steam locomotive in service, 452 was scrapped around 1966 or 1967. If anyone has any information on number 452 (like where it was between 1958 and the time of its scrapping) or steam operations at the Chaska Sugar Factory, please let me know.

Steam Crane at Sugar Factory
This is a 1962 photo of one of the two steam cranes that were employed at the factory. I remember these cranes operating into the early 1960s. They were used for unloading lime rock, coke, coal, etc. for the lime kiln.

Steam Cranes at Sugar Factory
The two steam cranes are seen northwest of the Sugar Plant during the fall campaign.

Arial View 1965
This is a 1965 southward-looking aerial photo of the American Crystal Sugar Company. In the foreground, the Sandy Acres neighborhood is clearly seen. Notice the silos now located immediatly to the right of the sugar factory. The Minnesota River can be seen behind (south of) the factory.

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Wes Barris