The catwalk was once a busy part of the mill. Located on the uppermost rafters of the mill (what might be loosely called the third floor) workers would traverse the narrow walkway as they moved equipment and directed the addition of new grain into the many large built-in grain bins below.
When walking the catwalk, it was important to avoid failing through the many holes that open to the grain bins below or walk off the edge and fall into one of the bins.
As grain arrived at the mill it was moved up to the top of the building through a system of pulleys and was then funneled into bins. Ropes helped direct the metal “hose” that funneled the grain.
That “hose” is a great piece of farmer ingenuity. If the grain was headed for the first grain bin, the hose could be pretty short. Then, as one bin filled and additional grain had to be directed to the next bin, that “hose” had to get longer.
They accomplished this by using a series of metal tubes, stacked one-into-the-other to create whatever length “hose” was needed to reach the next grain bin. As the “hose” kept getting longer and longer, a rope helped support the length so it wouldn’t collapse in the middle and break open to release the grain to the wrong bin.
You can imagine that the jobs working in this place were often dirty, hard and physically challenging. But I know that humor was alive and well in the building.
Ingenuity and humor are two powerful attributes I would ascribe to my Dad and all the farmers I knew. When you are not in charge of the weather or the price of goods, you learn to lean on your faith and have a sense of hope and humor. And when you can’t afford to buy a tool for every trick, you learn to make your own. This mill is full of reminders of the ingenuity and humor that form the roots of Fort Collins. We can’t wait to bring it back to life!