Tillotson’s Bushland, Tex., elevator glistens with paint. Is that a good thing?


IMG_8912After prowling in and out, up and down, and finding the Ag Producers Co-op elevator at Bushland, Texas, to be spotless and more than serviceable after 68 years, I struggled in the ambitious crosswind and went over the the co-op’s office just to the installation’s north. It’s just north of I-40.

Texas-Okla Logo 04As said before, I had encountered no one. Going through the back door, still, no one. But I went through to the front of the building and saw Bret Brown in his office.

Brown stood up to greet me hear my explanation. I had come to see what Tillotson Construction Co. built here in 1950. The company’s principal, Reginald Tillotson, was my grandfather.

Brown, the co-op’s CFO, wore a short-sleeve plaid shirt. He had a couple of minutes to chat with the intruder.

IMG_8920I remarked on the elevator’s excellent condition and the glistening paint job.

He said the paint was applied after the insurance company issued an imperative to seal cracks and coat the silos and main house.

In fact, he said, it was $160,000 paint job.

Yes, the result is spectacular.

For concrete, though, is paint a good thing? As reader Paul Grage wrote in a comment last week about the elevator in Rockwell City, Iowa, “The elevator is rotten in concrete terms.” Happy news to us is that it remains standing.

“But for how long who knows?” Grage writes. “Another victim of paint.”

There was a reason the builders finished the jobs with whitewash instead of paint.

What’s the difference?

A quick search turns up this definition of whitewash: “A solution of lime and water or of whiting, size, and water, used for painting walls white.”

Porous whitewash allows the concrete to breath. It might also be cheaper than paint. You can mix it onsite, maybe by grinding up Hyundais built in the 1990s. I don’t know. But let’s think about it.

Next in the Tex-Okla Road Trip series: Bushland’s specs.

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