Maywood, Nebraska: another Mayer-Osborn landmark meets its end

Photo by Kristen Cart

By Kristen Cart

The old Maywood, Nebraska, elevator with its annex built by Mayer-Osborn Contruction Company of Denver, Colorado, was demolished in March of this year. I had planned the trip to see the elevator before its scheduled demolition in 2013. When we arrived in town, I expected to see the familiar straight-up J. H. Tillotson, Contractor-designed elevator with its annex beside it, but it was nowhere to be found. But I saw bulldozers and a football field-sized area framed with rubble piles, with corn impacted into the flat scraped ground. Not good.

Inside the Ag Valley Co-op office, business was in full swing. A truck pulled up, and a corn sample was vacuumed up and tested inside the building as I watched. Newer elevators were handling all of the grain. Turena Ehlers and Charla Werkmeister, employees of the co-op, told me how it went.

Photo by Julie Cox Hazen

The old Mayer-Osborn annex had a pretty good lean and some leaking problems, so it had been slated for destruction first, with the status of the main elevator left in question. But the main elevator was losing chunks of concrete and was deemed a hazard, so it came down soon after the annex. Forest River Colonies, of Fordville, North Dakota, a Hutterite-owned company, tore down the elevator and its annex, with the scrap going to Columbus Metals in Kearney, Nebraska. My hopes were dashed for recovering an intact manhole cover with my grandfather’s Mayer-Osborn company name on it.

Photo by Julie Cox Hazen

The demolition was quite an event for the town. Carol Wood put together a photo montage and hung it at the Maywood town offices. Bill Schnase picked up pieces of the rubble for his daughter to paint, to preserve the image of the elevator on concrete. Everyone had photos of the demolition. Julie Cox Hazen, Bill Schnase’s niece, shared hers with me.

Luckily, Gary Rich visited the elevator last year, taking photos of it in its last year of useful service. It’s type had been surpassed for a long time by newer, faster grain storage facilities of all kinds.

Most of Grandpa’s smaller projects are reaching the end of their service lives. So we are capturing their last moments, mostly, but not always, in the nick of time.

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3 comments on “Maywood, Nebraska: another Mayer-Osborn landmark meets its end

  1. Leroy C. says:

    I grow up in Maywood and felt as if the grain elevator was a part of the town. Maybe not as important as the school or as vital as the local pub was to the liveliness of the towns Friday nights. I must have driven by it a thousand times and was dared to clime it a hundered. Although I never made it to the top I am sad to say I will miss it. This may sound silly to some. But it reminds me on how simple life should be and difficult we make most of the time

    • kocart says:

      It amazes me when something we assume is permanent disappears. I went to visit New York City as a kid when the World Trade Center was brand new–with the tallest buildings in the world. In my teenager’s way of thinking, I assumed it would last forever–like every bit of progress we made. We would be walking on the moon forever, and on to the next planet. My grandpa would be alive forever. It was such a shock when I discovered that progress could go in reverse, and people we loved could die.

      Maywood is a reminder of how temporary our work can be. Thank you so much for your comment here–now that Maywood’s elevator has become part of history, your memories add to its story. That does not sound silly to me.

  2. […] The annex beside it shows signs of cracking. Stress cracks are an old enemy of elevators, a problem which eventually spelled the demise of the Churdan elevator’s twin at Glidden, Iowa, and also the Mayer-Osborn elevator at Maywood, Kan. […]

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