In Monument, Kansas, the elevator is closed to visitors and its story sealed

Story and photos by Kristen Cart

I approach this post with a little bit of trepidation, since the Monument, Kan., elevator does not invite tourists–even those with family connections. It is operated by a large corporation which primarily supplies corn for ethanol. It seems that an overly inviting manager might be risking his job, so I contented myself with photos taken from off of the property. But I was able to cobble together some information about it, from a variety of sources. Suffice it to say, it would not be prudent to reveal all of them.

A view of the Monument, Kan., elevator, taken from off-property. Visitors weren’t permitted at the facility.

I was able to determine the builder for the stand-up elevator with its integral head house. The manhole covers are stamped with the company name of J. H. Tillotson, Denver, Colo. The annex on the left has unmarked ports, but the annex on the right has man-hole covers stamped with the company name Mayer-Osborn. I did not see any of the ports for myself, so I am relying on secondhand information. But my grandfather apparently made a return trip after building the original house.

The original elevator was built for a Mr. Bertrand, whose son is still living. The elevator once had a brass plaque installed, which has since been removed and may still be with the Bertrand family. There were also early photographs of the elevator, and it is believed that they went with the plaque.

I spoke with a gentleman named Fred Wassemiller, who said, “These elevators were the best thing going–they should have kept building them.” He also said it was too bad that the “old-timers around here are gone.”

Apparently, they could have told me a lot.

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4 comments on “In Monument, Kansas, the elevator is closed to visitors and its story sealed

  1. [...] In Monument, Kansas, the elevator is closed to visitors and its story sealed (ourgrandfathersgrainelevators.com) Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. This entry was posted in Gary Rich Photo Pages, J.H. Tillotson, Contractor, Joseph H. Tillotson, Mayer-Osborn, William Osborn and tagged architecture, Business, construction, grain elevator, J.H. Tillotson Contractor, Mayer-Osborn Company, slip-formed concrete, William Osborn. [...]

  2. [...] In Monument, Kansas, the elevator is closed to visitors and its story sealed (ourgrandfathersgrainelevators.com) Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. This entry was posted in Their Work and tagged architecture, Business, grain elevator, Kansas, slip-formed concrete, Wichita. [...]

  3. blh42 says:

    My father, Herb Schaaf, worked for Ernie Bertrand in the 1950’s as a crop duster and during the winter kept books for the elevator and farming business. The manager of the Monument elevator was Don Moore. Both of our families lived in houses near the elevator which were owned by Ernie. I have many fond memories of the elevator and that area in general. Too bad they are closed to the public as I will be through that area soon and would enjoy. My dad hid my bike in the top of the elevator before Christmas and also made some bookcases for our house up there. It was the first elevator I ever rode in!

    • kocart says:

      I was told that the plaque that was once in the elevator is still kept by the Bertrand family. If you do go by, stop in the office and ask about the old plaque. They may direct you to someone who can tell you more, and you can catch up on old times. It’s worth a try if you will be in the area.

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