Colorado Fuel and Iron

Minnequa Dairy

In an effort to improve the health and welfare of its employees and their families, CF&I began a medical department in 1880. In 1917, CF&I purchased a dairy farm on land about five miles south of Pueblo to provide milk for patients in its Minnequa Hospital (later to become St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center.)

In the early 20th century, new research of the medical community in general revealed the benefits of steam sterilization and glass containers. CF&I physicians, taking advice from their colleagues, insisted that glass bottles and equipment used within the hospital be sterile for the benefit of its patients. In addition to nurses who served the milk to the patients, a complete staff was required at the dairy to care for the cows including milk men, bottlers, those who fed and watered the animals and veterinarians. At the time of its opening, the farm, according to the company publication, The Industrial Bulletin, was under the direct supervision of George Van Brimer, a graduate of the State Agricultural College (now Colorado State University-Fort Collins). His other duties included serving as superintendent of CF&I’s Colorado & Wyoming Railroad.

Soon after purchase, company officials made several improvements to the building including installing a concrete floor in the milking room, adding window screens, installing new feed racks for cattle and improving the drainage system within the building. Holstein grade cattle were housed at the dairy.

The dairy was short-lived however, and the last record the Steelworks Archives has is that it ceased operations around 1930, presumably when economic strains began to be placed on the company.

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