Beet Sugar Mill, Clarksburg California
Clarksburg is a small town in the Delta a few miles south of Sacramento. The Old Sugar Mill (photo above), was built by Amalgamated Sugar in 1935 then sold to Crystal Sugar in 1936. It was later operated by Delta Sugar. The mill refined beet sugar. It was among many beet sugar mills that were built and operated in the US in the early 1900s but it is the only one I know of in California. Sugar beets were more commonly grown on the eastern Great Plains. The mill would have competed directly with C&H sugar in Crockett. Both mills would have supplied the canning industry which used vast quantities of sugar in sweetened canned peaches pears and fruit cocktail. The mill closed in 1993 which was not long after Sacramento's big canneries closed in the 1980s. After a period during which the mill was allowed to decay, it was purchased by a group of local investors with the goal of creating a tasting and sales location for local wine producers. It has changed hands several times since and appears to have been wildly successful. 13 wineries and additional vendors now occupy the old mill. It's kind of like an up-scale shopping mall for wine. A large portion of the mill is still unused. Most of the photos on this page are of that portion. The parts of the mill that have been reused were tastefully remolded. The mills structural elements are still visible in the interior spaces. For the most part the character of the original buildings has been preserved. It's a very popular spot on the weekends. Several hundred people were there when I visited last. There are tables placed throughout the complex. A band was playing in one building. People were relaxing with their wine glasses on a lawn behind the mill. It was easy to see how nice it would be to spend all day wandering around drinking wine. But then what? Drive home? Transportation and lodging issues aside, the Old Sugar Mill is a great example of a successful and well executed industrial re-use project.
All content on these pages Copyright Mark Hedlund 2012-2017. All rights reserved. Use in school projects and with links on social media is always okay. Please send me an email to request permission for any other use: email@example.com Non-exclusive commercial publication rights for most photos is $25 per image.