In Chase County, we meet Gary State, an elevator construction veteran

By Gary Rich

Editor’s note: Gary is recently returned from a fact-finding foray in Nebraska.

I stopped at the Chase County courthouse in Imperial, Neb., looking for the dates when the elevators were built in Imperial, Enders, and Wauneta. They did not have much information about the build dates. The only info they have in their records is that the old office building for Frenchman Valley Co-op was done in 1946. The FVC built a new office across the street from the old one.

The ladies on the courthouse staff told me to stop in at the FVC office and talk with Gary State, who might have the dates. Mr. State went to work for Mid States building grain elevators and feed plants. I do not know if it was just Mid States or Mid States Construction. He was living in Imperial when he started working for them.

Map of Nebraska highlighting Chase County

I explained about Tillotson Construction Company, of Omaha, J.H. Tillotson, Contractor, of Denver, and Mayer-Osborn Company. He gave me some leads. He told me that Hugh O’Grady is still alive and lives in Omaha. Mid States was started by a man name Erickson. He had seven sons. Six of the sons ended up working for Mid States. One son died at a construction site. He said Jack Russell was a superintendent. He thought that he was living in Seward, Neb.

Mr. State built the second annex, or elevator number two, at Big Springs, and then elevator number three.

He told me that he built the Woolstock, and Goldfield, Iowa, elevators; the feed plant at Fruita, Colo.; and elevators at Garrison and nearby David City, Neb. At the other end of the Cornhusker State, he built the west elevator in Imperial. After the west elevator was finished, he left Mid States and he went to work for the Co-op. This is the reason that he is working for FVC.

♦ ♦ ♦

Okay, here is another thing. I thought that when a construction company built an elevator that they did everything. This is not true. Mr. State told me about a company based at York, Neb. This company did all the belts inside the elevators, all around Nebraska, no matter who the builder was. So we know the belts were installed by a separate company. Now I am wondering if a separate company was onsite to install the leg as they built the elevator up. Or did the general contractor install the leg?

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2 comments on “In Chase County, we meet Gary State, an elevator construction veteran

  1. […] In Chase County, we meet Gary State, an elevator construction veteran (ourgrandfathersgrainelevators.com) Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in Mayer-Osborn, Their Work and tagged architecture, Business, construction, grain elevator, Mayer-Osborn Company, slip-formed concrete, Wauneta Nebraska. […]

  2. Nancy Russell Poppen says:

    My grandfather, William (Bill) R Russell worked for Tillotson Construction then went on to work for MidStates building elevators in the midwest. Grandpa Russell had 8 boys. One son, Jim, died from a fall from a grain elevator a few months before my birth in December 1958. My father Robert (Bob) Russell was one of his sons – he by the way, turns 80 this Thursday, November 8, 2012. My dad Bob, my uncles Jack and Roger all worked with my grandfather. My father went on to work for Quad States in Des Moines, Iowa. If you need more info on your research you can contact my father – he is always talking about the elevator days!! I can vaguely put together all the wealth of information that he has shared over the years. Great memories of all my Russell relatives.

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