by Marva Mosshart,
by Duane Reif,
Great Bend Co-op, Boyd Elevator
are Prairie Skyscrapers?
Skyscrapers are Kansas grain elevators. In most areas
of Kansas, you can see at least one elevator off in
the distance. Every town has at least one and, in some
cases, the elevator is still standing (and may even
still be used) even if the town has been abandoned.
Grain elevators were built when very few Kansas farmers
could build enough storage at their farms to store their
entire wheat crop. In the early days of Kansas, each
farmer hauled his wheat to town with a horse and wagon.
Most Kansas towns, and grain elevators, were not very
Grain elevators were built alongside railroad tracks,
as were most Kansas towns. The wheat from area farms
was collected at the grain elevator and then shipped
by rail car to flour mills.
In recent years, more and more Kansas wheat has been
shipped by semi-trucks from the local grain elevators
to larger elevators, flour mills, or to ports. Two-thirds
of the wheat grown in Kansas is exported to other countries.
Kansas ranks 1st among the 50 states in flour-milling
capacity so much of the remaining one-third of the Kansas
wheat crop is milled into flour in the state of Kansas.