Photo tour reveals the Goodland, Kan., elevator’s symmetries and history

Story and photos by Kristen Cart

My dad, Jerry Osborn, always knew Grandpa built this elevator, and I remember pictures of it from long ago. It still rises gracefully above the Kansas plain, tucked in among its neighboring elevators, listing slightly in its old age. It has always held a place of pride since its construction in the town of Goodland, Kan.

Contributor Gary Rich discovered, when he visited the site, that this elevator, built by J. H. Tillotson, Contractor, is now used for sunflower seed. When I saw it, it was all buttoned up, presumably awaiting its summer crop. The slight tilt is obvious from some angles, but the elevator appears sound.

William Osborn photo of the Goodland, Kan. elevator, found among his papers.

The words “Goodland Equity” can be faintly discerned under the white paint.

You can still see, faintly outlined in white letters, the name Goodland Equity, long since painted over. At one time¬† the elevator sported a neon sign proclaiming “Goodland Equity” to the night sky. That sign has disappeared and now vultures adorn the top of the leg in a lofty roost.

This beautiful elevator will continue to attract photographers as long as it stands. Aside from building useful, well-engineered, long-lasting structures, my grandpa, Bill Osborn, built beauty into the flat Kansas landscape.

For that, I am grateful.

A convenient roost for vultures.

Gary Rich explains wheat farming in Colorado and Kansas


Heat waves rising over a field of winter wheat in Goodland, Kan. Photo by Kristen Cart.

By Gary Rich

Here is Agriculture 101. I will tell you something about wheat.

There are two types of wheat. You have hard and soft wheat. Hard is considered winter wheat, whereas the soft is considered spring wheat. Winter wheat is planted in August or September. It is harvested the next summer. Spring wheat is planted in the spring, and it is harvested in August or September.

There are different types of winter and spring wheat. Some will produce better yields under normal growing conditions.

Our Colorado wheat fields that were just harvested will not be planted again until August 2013. Farmers leave the field idle for a year. This is done to keep the moisture in the ground, and to preserve some of the minerals for growing. Here in Colorado, it is called dry farming. When they get ready to plant, they will plant the wheat into the ground, without breaking it up.

A view, two days before harvest, of the Page City, Kan., elevator, built by Johnson-Sampson Construction, of Salina.
Photo by Kristen Cart

Where I was reared, in Kansas, it was wet farming.  We had enough moisture, between the rain and snow. Farmers would use a plow, and plow under the last crop remains, then go back over the field with a harrow, leveling out the ground. Then they would come in with a planter and put the seeds into the ground.

In Colorado, we cannot do this, as we do not have the moisture.

Basically, the states that produce hard wheat are Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, western Nebraska, and South Dakota. States that produce soft wheat are North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon.

Those are just a few basic things about wheat.