Seed money: Roggen safecrackers use welding torch, net $34 for the trouble

Roggen Elevator Safe Robbery Investigated

Sheriff’s officers Thursday investigated a safe robbery at the Farmers Grain and Bean Association elevator at Roggen. The safecrackers got $34 in cash.

Photo by Gary Rich

A similar safe job, but unsuccessful, was done in Denver Thursday night, Sheriff William C. Tegtman was informed.

Deputies Harry Mills and Robert Patterson reported that the Roggen building had been entered by breaking a south window. The office window was then broken, and welding equipment moved to the safe to cut it open.

Greeley (Colo.) Tribune, Feb. 18, 1955

Mayer-Osborn’s new Roggen elevator contrasts with the old wooden one

New Elevator at Roggen Skyscraper of the Plains

A skyscraper on the plains of Weld county is the cement and steel grain elevator of the Farmers Grain and Bean association at Roggen. 

It is 119 and a half feet to the top of the bins and 157 feet to the top of the head house. The eight silos in the elevator have a network of 19 bins with a total capacity of 250,000 bushels.

Completion of the elevator in September gave the association a total storage capacity of 330,000 bushels, with the old elevator, shown in the foreground.

It also provided the association with the most modern equipment for grinding, rolling and mixing grain.

The contractor was Mayer-Osborn company of Denver.

Photo by Robert Widlund, Greeley (Colo.) Daily Tribune, undated (1950)

 

Engaged in sales, William Osborn spent serious time on the road

Gerald Osborn makes this point in an email to Kristen Osborn Cart:

Just for the record, your grandfather [William Osborn, of Mayer-Osborn Company] spent a lot of time on the road selling elevators. I remember waiting in the car during one stop he made; I believe it was at Le Mars, Iowa. I don’t believe it is correct to attribute all the sales to Gene Mayer.

In fact, my understanding was that Gene spent most of his time in the office in Denver and likely was involved with drawing up the contracts, doing the cost analysis, and issuing the bid package. There was also the financial side of things that I don’t think my dad was very involved with:  payroll, purchasing, accounting, et cetera.

Wauneta registers as an important architectural landmark and literary archive

Story by Kristen Osborn Cart

Photo by Gary Rich

The elevator operators at Wauneta, Nebr., have done a remarkable job of retaining the blueprints and correspondence accumulated during the time the elevator complex was designed and built.

In virtually every other case we’ve investigated, blueprints were lost or unavailable, and the histories of the elevators were unknown. At Wauneta, we can track the history of their endeavor very easily.

We know from a newspaper item that the first, straight-up elevator at Wauneta was built by William Osborn, during his years with J. H. Tillotson, Contractor, of Denver, in 1945.

My dad knew that Grandpa built an elevator at Wauneta, so the story has been verified. A few years later, Wauneta obtained designs for an annex to be built by a winning bidder.

Map of Nebraska highlighting Chase County

Among these designs were two blueprints, dated 1948 and 1949, which were done by Holmen and Mayer, and Mayer-Osborn, respectively. Apparently the first set of plans was not built and a second set was ordered, this time from the newly formed Mayer-Osborn Company.

Other builders also submitted plans. Instead of an annex, however, Wauneta eventually built a second elevator, likely as a money-saving move.

A third elevator was also built.

The first two elevators had access to a rail line, and when the third elevator was built by Mel Jarvis Construction of Salina, Kan., it had no rail access, so runs were built connecting it to the other elevators.

After his recent visit, Gary Rich confirms that Mayer-Osborn built the Co-Op office building, formerly a John Deere dealership, and also a boiler room just west of the dealership. The blueprints are still kept at the Co-Op.

According to Gary, who interviewed a member of the Co-Op board, “The Co-Op provided everything for the farmers. They had the elevator, the John Deere dealership, a grocery store, and a lumber yard. Plus, they had a fertilizer plant and gasoline dealership.” 

 

Note: Follow the embedded link for William Osborn’s explanation of construction techniques used by Mayer-Osborn in nearby McCook, Nebr.

A contemporary view of Mayer-Osborn’s Blencoe elevator

Last holiday season, when she visited the Mayer-Osborn elevator at Blencoe, Iowa, Kristen Osborn Cart snapped this photo of a framed photo hanging in the office. It shows an early view of the elevator, which was finished in 1954. Her own father helped with the construction. The gleaming coat of white paint gave the structure an ultramodern look.

McCook: A different view of Mayer-Osborn’s first elevator

Kristen Osborn Cart provides this view of Mayer-Osborn’s first elevator, in McCook, Nebr., seen from a different angle. McCook is a town of about 7500 people in southwestern Nebraska’s Red Willow County, along the Republican River. The original elevator stands in the middle, between later annexes that added more storage.

Pritchett: Three elevators in southeastern Colorado

 

Gary Rich captured this striking view of the elevators at Pritchett, a small town in Colorado’s southeasternmost county, Baca. The elevators are along U.S. 160–called Railroad Street in the town–on the northern edge of the Comanche National Grassland. While we don’t know the builders of these elevators, some Mayer-Osborn characteristics are to be seen, notably, the step-up headhouse design and ground-level drive-through access of the first building.