In Follett, Tillotson and Mayer-Osborn twins are sold to new owner


By Ronald Ahrens

The northeast corner of the Texas Panhandle was the subject of dispute of between Texas and Oklahoma for 79 years, from 1850 to 1929, despite the precise boundary coordinates having been given as 100 degrees longitude and 36 degrees and 30 minutes latitude.

Texas-Okla Logo 04A historical marker outside Follett says nine surveys were made to locate the Panhandle’s corner. None coincided. Nevertheless, land was annexed to Texas in 1903.

One man claimed he went to bed in Oklahoma and woke in Texas.

Finally, in 1929, the United States Supreme Court had a survey done, lines were moved, and that was that.


The stepped headhouse would become a more exaggerated–and rounded–feature of Mayer-Osborn’s elevators. 

Whereas the officials had a hard time setting the boundary, the people on either side of it sure were good at growing grain, and it needed to be stored.

We find in Follett the unusual, perhaps singular, circumstance of a Tillotson elevator and a Mayer-Osborn one on the same site. See yesterday’s post for an explanation. The M-O house and annex are seen at the top of this post and in pictures throughout.

We know Tillotson’s was a 1945 job; without Mayer-Osborn’s records, I have to guess. Although this M-O has a stepped headhouse, which was their signature, it is composed of rectangles and has unique window arrangements, with three small daylight windows coyly stacked atop one another on the south face. (Again, this is seen in the topmost photo.) Like the Tillotson elevator, it is labeled “Farmers.” Both elevators have annexes by Chalmers & Borton.

My guess is this was an early job for Mayer-Osborn.

The exterior walls of the Mayer-Osborn’s main house have an attractive flat surface over the silos. It looks aerodynamcally efficient, even if that’s not the point of a massive structure of reinforced concrete sticking up 150 feet on the windy Plains.

The paint was excellent, almost glossy.


Another feature was the outside double-driveway, something we hadn’t encountered before.

No one was around. I went over to the office and saw a sign saying “Farmers Grain & Sply Co” painted on the backrest of a bench. A paper sign hanging in the window said Tri-State Ag & Environmental LLC.”

I called the number given there and learned the elevators had recently been sold and was given a name and another number. But so far there’s been no response to my voice message.

4 comments on “In Follett, Tillotson and Mayer-Osborn twins are sold to new owner

  1. Marc McClure says:

    Ronald – Great posts! I really enjoy them. Are you aware of the elevator at Rudd Iowa? I’m sure its a Mayer-Osborne elevator. Now seeing this style of headhouse there may be a couple more here in Iowa I will have to check closer on.

  2. Ryan Day says:

    Good morning! Thanks for the window into your family’s past Ronald! I too have tillitison blood thru my paternal grandmother Beatrice Tillitson, who was named after the town she was born in…Beatrice, Illinois.
    I happen to be a second generation miller at the Valleywidecoop organic mill in Downey, Idaho. I enjoy reading your posts for the reason that I too have elevators in my blood. The old mill I run now was practically a family affair as I was growing up as the Day family is all that ran it haha.
    Sadly, I’m all that’s left to run an worn out wooden crib mill and a steel tanked 123,000 thousand bushel elevator that time seems to have forgotten. I took over from father so he could finally retire 3 years ago and have loved every minute of it!
    Keep up the good work my friend!

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