By Ronald Ahrens
Ryan Day, a reader of this blog, shared some details about the mill and elevator complex he manages in Downey, Idaho, for Valley Wide Cooperative.
“I do not have any info on the wooden crib at all,” Ryan says but notes a 1901 casting date on the iron housing of the 24-inch barley roller.
He is quite sure about the rest of it, though.
The six silos–the 50-footers made of riveted steel plates–preceded 1915, he reckons. They hold 11,293 bushels apiece.
The two 80-foot silos each hold “23,000 bushels and change.” The middle has an overhead bin with capacity of 1800 bushels.
“Trucks dump right there in the east side of the elevator,” he said. He has a roll-up garage door on south and a slider on north.
He uses a 32-foot scale with balance beam, a device that always makes the Idaho state inspector marvel. It measures loads up to 60,000 pounds and can scale a tractor, which then pulls ahead in order to weigh the tandems. Then the driver backs up and dumps into the pit.
Up top in the headhouse, a massive 40-horse motor runs the head pulley. “I’m sure it’s original.”
Updating the leg, the cooperative had a new belt installed last spring. At 132 feet long it spans the distance between head and boot pulleys; it’s made of multi-ply rubber with fabric cordage. He said it’s not as thick as the old belt. Halverson Co., of Salt Lake City, installed it.
The tall narrow building has a leg; the stepped pit inside has been converted to a corn grinder.
The wooden crib still bears the faint marking Globe Elevator Co. No. 6. He points out that Globe was responsible for the largest wooden-crib elevator in the States, built in the 1880s at Superior, Wisc. Use this link to view photos from the Library of Congress. The History Channel documented its dismantling in 2013.