The natural waterfall of the Smoky Hill River was the incentive for the settlement of Louden’s Falls, Enterprise Mills, then later, Enterprise. Allen Smith and Andres Augustensen had cabins on land on which the hamlet was platted. Other local claim holders, Gus Packard and Lars Jaderborg staked parcels five miles northeast of the falls.
The hamlet of Enterprise was largely the result of Swiss native Christian Hoffman’s efforts. Hoffman, a miller by trade, established a gristmill on the south bank of the Smoky Hill River. The mill grew and expanded to become an impressive operation. It included a 100,000 bushel grain storage elevator, a cornmeal mill and thirty-three (33) country grain storage facilities in towns along the Union Pacific, Santa Fe and Rock Island Railroads that insured a supply of grain for the mill.
By 1910, competition and rail freight rates worked against the milling industry. Kansas Flour Mills Company, organized in 1912, was the consolidation of seven Kansas milling firms that included the C. Hoffman & Son mill. Headquarters were in Kansas City, but the local mill continued to produce flour and by-products until the early 1930’s. The unused grain storage elevator that burned in 1984, was the last remnant of the once flourishing local flour mill.rn