Scenic USA - Kansas

Scenic USA offers a collection of select photographs from a wide variety of attractions, points of interest, historic sites, state and
national parks found throughout the United States. Each photo feature is coupled with a brief explanation.
For further detailed information, links to other related sites are provided.


Prairie Skyscrapers

Prairie Skyscrapers

Photo by Ben Prepelka

     Abandoned rows of storage silos are a common sight on America's mid-western prairie. Not more than a half century ago farm communities included one or two grain elevators. Farmers dropped off their grain on one side and railcars stood by on the other, waiting for their fill. Local grain storage owners were quick to realize their power to control prices, giving birth to farm co-ops and government intervention. As transportation improved, the use of local grain storage dwindled and centrally located facilities assumed their roles.
      Joseph Dart of Buffalo, New York, is credited with the first steam powered grain elevator used to lift product from ships and barges into rows of storage towers. The bins or silos were emptied by gravity flow. Screw augers and conveyor buckets were also used to fill awaiting trucks or trains. Today, consolidation is the key, and holds true for grain storage. Some grain elevator complexes spread out for a half mile.
      These old photographic subjects are vanishing one by one. The prairie skyscrapers finally give in to the forces of gravity. This collection of storage silos and elevator, west of Dodge City, Kansas, used a glazed block in construction, producing a metallic glow in the early morning sun.



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