Inn Preserves History of Sheridan Flour Industry

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The Mill Inn, with the two one-time grain elevators rising behind it, has been on the National Register of Historic Places since December 1997. (Photo by Pat Blair)
The Mill Inn, with the two one-time grain elevators rising behind it, has been on the National Register of Historic Places since December 1997. (Photo by Pat Blair)

Sheridan Media continues its look at the Sheridan County sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today's spotlight is on the Mill Inn.

The structure can trace its roots to the early 1890s when a small steam-powered flouring mill was built at 245 Broadway Street. J.W. Denio acquired the mill in 1903, and by 1919, the mill was the biggest milling operation in Wyoming, able to turn out 400 barrels of flour a day. A fire that year destroyed the original building, but a new mill was constructed southeast of Sheridan – present-day site made of fire-resistent steel-reinforced masonry.

The milling facility encouraged wheat growing in the Sheridan area and southern Montana. In the late 1920s, the mill in addition to its Sheridan facilities owned grain elevators stretching across southern Montana and south to Buffalo. Flour from the mill was shipped across the United States. In addition to flour, pancake and biscuit mixes, the mill produced dog food and mixed feeds for poultry and livestock. Originally marketed as “Pride of Sheridan,” the mill's flour later was called Best Out West. Livestock feed and dog food were sold under the name Tomahawk.

In 1963, the company was purchased by Nebraska Consolidated Mill Co. of Omaha, forerunner of ConAgra. But changes in the structure of freight rates for grain and flour left the new owners unable to compete with other milling locations. Milling operations were closed, and the building, equipment and land were sold in 1974. The mill building was remodeled into the Mill Inn motel, and the tower was converted into office spaces. Under the name Sheridan Flouring Mills Inc., the Mill Inn was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on Dec. 8, 1997.

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