Our grandfathers’ construction companies managed to escape the dreaded ‘blowout’

Written on the back of this photo: "This is the Bird City elevator that busted. This is the one Parrish built."

Written on the back of this photo from the Linda Laird Collection: “This is the Bird City elevator that busted. This is the one Parrish built.”

Story by Gary Rich

Vickroy-Mong built the Bird City, Kan., elevator in 1950. It was ready for that year’s wheat harvest. But sometime afterward, the elevator had a blowout.

A nightmare for any elevator builder, a blowout can happen if too little rebar is used when pouring the concrete. There is a lot of pressure on the bins once you put grain in them. And the weakest point is on the outside.

As you see in the photo, part of the outside section fell to the ground. The grain would have spilled out, too. Note that some grain remains inside the bin.

Chalmers & Borton received the contract for the repair work here. It is unknown if they fixed only the damaged bin or found others were flawed.

The Chalmers & Borton superintendent was W. Grammer. The job number was 50-K-62. Work began later in 1950, probably by fall.

The Bird City elevator wouldn’t have been good advertising for Vickroy-Mong. It’s not known if they built any other elevators.

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5 comments on “Our grandfathers’ construction companies managed to escape the dreaded ‘blowout’

  1. Mustang.Koji says:

    I had no idea these would blow out… Amazing!

  2. Diane Bell says:

    Oh my that is awful!

  3. kocart says:

    Apparently Hamilton, Vickroy and Mong of Salina, Kan. was hired to build at least one elevator in addition to this one, in Lakin, Kan. According to an item in the Hutchinson News Herald dated October 18, 1949, Gano Grain Co. commissioned the elevator, and the capacity was to be 200,000 bushels. The article noted that the Arkansas river was undercutting its bank and causing problems in the construction.

  4. […] Our grandfathers’ construction companies managed to escape the dreaded ‘blowout’ (ourgrandfathersgrainelevators.com) […]

  5. Trucker says:

    I was at Vesper, KS elevator and seen a plaque that read Vickroy- Mong 1950. Searched it and it took me here. Elevator is still functional today. Guy running the place said it’s getting old and falling in disrepair. He also said the building leans 3′ but has been that way since it was built.

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