Part 2 of a photography outing unfolds the visual possibilities at Roggen, Colorado

Mayer-Osborn's Roggen, Colo. elevator has the typical stepped up headhouse.

The Roggen, Colo., elevator has the typical Mayer-Osborn stepped-up headhouse.

Story and photos by Kristen Cart

The stepped-style headhouse on the 1950-vintage elevator at Roggen, Colo., raised our suspicion that Mayer-Osborn Construction built the elevator, and that my grandfather William Osborn had a hand in it. Our hunch proved to be right. A 1950 newspaper account detailed its construction, as well as that of the concurrent project at Byers, Colo. Roggen’s elevator was built on the heels of its twin, the Mayer-Osborn elevator at McCook, Neb., which was completed the year before.

Gary Rich explores creative possibilities at the Roggen elevator.

Gary Rich explores creative possibilities at the Roggen elevator.

Last year Gary Rich, contributor to this blog, paid a visit to Roggen. He documented the manhole covers inside the driveway, which bore the company name in raised letters across the top of the steel plates manufactured by Hutchinson Foundry. After seeing his photographs, I was very eager to see the elevator for myself.

Last fall on a visit to Colorado I met with Gary, and we took in Roggen and Byers among other elevators on a photography tour. Roggen is fairly accessible and located just east of Denver. The purpose of our tour was to document the elevators, but also to inject some creativity into the process. The results were very pleasing, especially at Roggen. This is part two of our photo tour.

When I started looking for my grandfather’s elevators, I never suspected it would open the door to the elevator photography and historical research you find in this blog. Best of all, our contributors Ronald Ahrens and Gary Rich have made this project great fun for all of us. I hope you, our readers, get a kick out of it as well, and are inspired to follow your own quests wherever they may lead.

Empty containers frame Roggen's 1950 elevator

Empty containers frame Roggen’s 1950 elevator. 

Comparing Mayer-Osborn elevators in Byers, Colorado, and McAllaster, Kansas

By Gary Rich

It is somewhat strange that you can have a company build an elevator, but there can be differences between two separate models. The Byers, Colorado, elevator was built by Mayer-Osborn. This model has the manhole covers on the outside of the bins, whereas the McAllaster, Kansas, elevator has the manhole covers on the inside. You will notice the manhole covers on the outside of the bins in the Byers view. Plus, there is a walkway door about halfway between the bins. The window arrangements are slightly different between these two elevators. Basically the driveway is the same on the two models.

One thing stands out like a sore thumb: whoever painted the Byers elevator painted the manhole covers. This is the only elevator where I have seen this done. Generally the manhole covers are not painted.

It would be the option of the Co-op what was wanted in the elevator. If the owners chose more options, of course the price of the elevator would increase, too.

There are two sides of an elevator. One is the track side, where the railroad tracks are located. The other side is known as the drive way, where the trucks will dump their loads.

I do not believe that the McAllaster, Kansas, elevator has been used for some years. The steel bins were empty, when I photographed here on November 14, 2011. The weeds were fairly high, and the rail spur has been removed.