In Orienta, Okla., 312,000 bushels of storage meant a vast amount of materials


The south elevator and Tillotson’s storage annex at Orienta, Okla.

By Ronald Ahrens

When laying the main slab for a storage annex like the one we found in Orienta, Okla., make it thick and be prepared to go the distance. That’s my takeaway after visiting the site and now looking at the specs and dimensions.

Texas-Okla Logo 04Tillotson Construction Co., of Omaha, undertook this job in 1954, building a 312,000-bushel annex. The crew created a slab 24 inches thick, 47.5 feet wide, and 109 feet long.

Even without a headhouse, this job consumed plenty of material. Overall, some 2,963 cubic yards of concrete and 105.72 tons of reinforcing steel were used.

Just in the slab, there was 338 cubic yards of concrete and 53,077 pounds, or 26.53 tons, of reinforcing steel. Fitting all the steel together took a long time before any concrete could be poured. In comparison to the tedious slab, the drawform walls went up rather fast.


Headhouse of the Johnson’s south elevator at Orienta and start of the 100-foot run over the Tillotson annex.

The Orienta annex could hold 9,360 tons of grain, and the structure’s gross weight when loaded was as much as 14,430 tons.

Here, the 10 tanks, or silos, were 114 feet nine inches tall.


The gap between the main house, left, and Tillotson’s storage annex. Note here and in the images below the poor condition of the concrete at the main house.


The run measured 13 feet wide, 100 feet long, and just over eight feet high.

Inside the run, a 30-inch wide conveyor belt ran with a 10-horsepower motor on top and 7.5-horse on bottom to move up to 600 feet per minute. That translated to transferring 9,000 bushels per hour through the run.



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