Bessemer Historical Society
The Colorado Fuel and Iron Company (CF&I) was the first integrated steel mill west of the Mississippi River. It was founded in 1872 by General William Jackson Palmer to manufacture steel rails for his Denver and Rio Grande Railway. At one time CF&I was the largest private landowner and the largest employer in Colorado. In addition to its railroads and steel mill, CF&I mines and mining towns operated throughout the west and the firm owned subsidiary companies ranging from the states of Massachusetts to California.