Life in a coffee mill
Housing was at a premium in early Goodland. When settlers, many of them railroad workers, flooded in, they needed housing. Local carpenters built what they knew, simple four-room, 24-by-24-foot square houses with a chimney rising from the center of the roof. The rooms were kitchen, living room and two bedrooms. They lacked indoor plumbing. Fireplace heated the entire house. They were built with shiplap or sheathing, then covered with drop siding. People thought the houses resembled the coffee grinders of the time, so the houses were named “Coffee Mill Houses” and Caldwell Street where they were built became Coffee Mill Row. Goodland’s Commercial Club financed these homes so that the railroaders could bring their families instead of living in rooming houses.
Imagine a coffee grinder handle on top and the resemblance is easy to see. The base of the house, the roof and the chimney all appear in the coffee grinder.
Several of the houses still exist today, although many of them have additions that mask the original house’s coffee grinder-like design.
Coffee Mill Row’s best remaining examples are from 1602 Caldwell Street to 1401 Caldwell Street. 1526 Caldwell (left) still retains the original roof lines. Its south fence is unusual, a long piece of metal sheeting. 1534 Caldwell features Post Rocks along its boundaries. Look closely while driving around Goodland to see more Coffee Mill House examples. Grab a cup of coffee at Cooper Coffee, 402 E. 17th, or Good Grounds Coffee & Bistro, 2402 Commerce Road, to honor the Coffee Mill Houses.