Friday, January 04, 2008


Across the Great Plains the most ubiquitous architecture is the grain elevator. No little structure these. You see them from great distances perched on the horizon of the gentle roll of the landscape. Because they stand so monumentally tall, they are noticed long before the towns they are usually associated with appear. And for the most part, there will be a railroad up close along one side. There seems to be three distinct styles two of which are represented in the above Ashland, Kansas, 2007, image. One, the smaller more angular tin-on-timber structure, and the more substantial concret silos. Nowadays the modern storage facilities are more likely to be gigantic, corrugate metal, tank-like bins. I remember an image by my friend, Larry C. Price, made while he was working for the Star Telegram in Ft. Worth, of two silo structures, both the size of the one above. They were separted by about six feet at their tops, and in his image, there was a man leaping from the top of one to the other. Amazing image, but even more amazing that someone would do such a thing. While I know that Frank Gohlke a number of years ago did a book, Measures of Emptiness: Grain Elevators in the American Landscape, I am still drawn to photograph them probably because the older corrugated tin structures are a disappearing feature of the mid-western and western landscape. They stand like staunch and dignified sentinals of a time past. In the next few days, I will post more.

1 comment:

Billie said...

I love the architectural aspects of the cotton gins and grain silos. And I expecially love it when they are made of metal. Maybe that is why I built a metal house. This is a "castle" of a silo.

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