What is: Often abandoned, standing taller than the local courthouse, grain elevators in small town across Texas and the United States.
What was: Whether they hold corn, milo, soybeans, or sunflower seeds, all grain elevators are basically big storage tanks. The number of operating grain elevators peaked around 1984 at around 1500 members in the Texas association. Today there are fewer than than 500 in Texas.
The small-town, family-owned elevators are going the way of the independent grocers. Kids aren’t interested in continuing the business, so they’re either selling out or shutting the doors. Many of the concrete cathedrals of the plains were built after World War II to store government-owned grain. Like the cotton gins of Mississippi, delivering product to the elevators was a social time, as all the local farmers got together to compare notes and share stories.
What is: Robinson Grain Co., Conway TX. The Handbook of Texas reports Conway had a population of 175 in 1969 but only 50 people in 1970. In 2016 the population was recorded as three
What was: Grain elevators were invented by Joseph Dart and Robert Dunbar in 1842 in Buffalo, New York. They created the grain elevators to help with the problem of unloading and storing grain that was being transported through the Erie Canal. Grain Elevators in Conway TX date back to about 1914 and these ones are beside the abandoned railway roadbed of the Chicago, RockIsland and Gulf Railway.
A grain elevator is a facility for agriculture designed to stockpile or store grain. Bucket elevators are used to lift grain to a and then it can fall through spouts and/or conveyors into one or more bins, silos, or tanks in a facility. It can then be emptied from bins, tanks, and silos, and conveyed, blended, and weighted into trucks, railroad cars, or barges for shipment. Concrete silos are better than wood or metal bins because the thick walls insulate the grain from extreme weather
In 1994, this facility was privately owned and was considered a small regional grain elevator. There were 6 locations in the area with a capacity of 4.5 million bushels of storage. It was part of the Texas Grain and Feed Association representing 900 grain, feed and processing firms at that time. Today that organization supports some 400 member companies ranging from sizable producers to medium and small-scale family-owned companies such as feed producers and grain marketing businesses. Ben Boerner, Texas Grain and Feed president noted, “The small-town, family-owned elevators are going the way of the independent grocers,” Boerner says. “The kids aren’t interested in continuing the business, so they’re either selling out or shutting the doors.” (Source: https://www.austinchronicle.com/columns/2008-02-08/589092/)