Blue-line drawings for a main slab and tunnel with breakout details for other sections in Gurley, Neb.

Finally, mercifully, we get to the last of the drawings from Tillotson Construction Co. records, and instead of dark, hard-to-read copies of blueprints, we offer these scanned copies of a “blue line.” They’re for a main slab and tunnel at Gurley, Neb.–which we assume has something to do with an annex–and were completed by Ted Morris on April 18, 1958. The scale is indicated as one-quarter-inch to one foot.

These are among the most detailed drawings in our possession, with abundant dimensional markings and figures for steel reinforcing bars. There are also many notations, some comprehensible and others begging for clarifying comments. In the upper right, the note, “Knock out Exist. Endwall in Tunnel” seems to suggest a conveyor that would connect the annex to the elevator.

Above that, an 11.0-foot gap is indicated between slabs with the note, “Wall to Wall (to Clr. Car Puller). Hmm!

Another one, between the Number Six and Number Four tanks, says, “Truss Bars next to Tank Opg’s. Str. Bars next to Inner Opgs.”

And in Number One we read, “Main Slab Steel to be 2″ Clear from Face of Slab Shown. Main Wall Steel to be 3/4″ clear from Face of Wall Shown.”

Others are far trickier. For example, “Print Walls for Roof” is written in Number Eight, and that’s pretty obscure.

Gurley is located in the Nebraska panhandle a few miles north of Sidney and Interstate 80. A satellite view reveals the annex and main elevator quite clearly amid Crossroad Coop’s complex at 501 Lincoln St. and ought to satisfy reader Suzassippi’s desire to match the two-dimensional drawing with a photographic view.

Readers may please feel free to contribute their own interpretations via the comments feature.

A late-afternoon drive results in precious postcard-like images of elevators at Greenwood, Neb.

By Ronald Ahrens

Our classmate and friend, Kim Cooper, sent a couple of photos from Greenwood, Neb., saying he “took a drive this evening checking out some subject matter. Great light in late afternoon.”

Kim is an artist and the proprietor of Cooper Studio & Gallery, located at 1526 Silver St. in Ashland, Neb. The studio and gallery opened in 2001. He likes to work in the plein air style, which often finds him painting outdoors and trying to capture the subtleties of light and shadow.

Besides the oil paintings, Cooper Studio & Gallery also offers watercolors, pottery, jewelry, and hand-crafted wooden vessels.

Starting in 1969, Kim and I were classmates at Morton Junior High School and then during a sophomore year at Burke High School in Omaha before a realignment swept him away to the brand-new Northwest High.

Besides our friendship, he knows Kristen Cart “fairly well” and her father, Jerry Osborn, who lives in Ashland.

“I met her father before I knew he was her dad,” he says.

We have featured Kim’s work in the past and are always happy to see more. To find those previous posts, enter his name in the search window to the right of this window.

New exhibit at Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art presents ‘Louise Bereuter: Grain Elevators’

“Louise Bereuter: Grain Elevators,” a new exhibit of paintings by the Lincoln, Neb. artist, opens Saturday, Nov. 21 at Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art in David City, Neb.

The exhibit will continue until Feb. 28, 2021.

Top: Louise Bereuter, “Malmo Elevator,” oil and canvas on board. Above: Louise Bereuter, “Neligh Elevator,” oil on canvas board. All images courtesy of the artist and Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art.

Bereuter explains the paintings were done when she and her husband lived near Cedar Bluffs, Neb.

“It was easy finding inspiration for landscapes, many of which were areas seen while roaming the rural back roads of Nebraska as well as views surrounding our Nebraska home along the Platte River,” she said in a promotional statement released by the museum.

During studies at the Boston School of the Museum of Fine Arts some 60 years ago, Bereuter met the great Edward Hopper, whose work gave her inspiration.

We see the connection in her loving depictions, which are delivered in a spare, precise style. Light and shadow are handled with special mastery.

“This is the accomplishment for which Bereuter and all realist artists strive, to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary,” the museum’s promotional flyer says.

Admission is free during museum hours. The museum is closed on Monday and Tuesday. Appointments and tours are available.

“We do have some COVID-19 safety regulations in place in our museum, which we have listed on our website and in the newsletter,” collections manager Gabrielle Comte writes in an email. “Sometimes it is good to inform people ahead of time so they can plan ahead. You would be surprised how shocked people have been to learn of our mask requirement here.”

We thank the artist and the museum for providing the images that appear with this post.

Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art is at 575 E Street, David City, Neb. Telephone: (402) 367-4488.

Rain delays and balky formwork hindered Grain Storage Construction Co. at Ceresco, Neb.

Lincoln Journal Star, Friday, Sep. 18, 1959

Grain Storage Construction Co. benefited from the expertise of Ted Morris, who had been employed by Tillotson Construction Co. As Tillotson’s activities declined in the late-1950s, the GSCC, of Council Bluffs, Iowa, stepped in to undertake construction of new grain elevators.

Here is news from the Fremont (Neb.) Tribune on July 24, 1959 as the company’s crew built an elevator of reinforced concrete next to a traditional wooden elevator at Ceresco, a village just 20 miles north of the Nebraska Capitol building in downtown Lincoln.

Weather, Difficulties Delay Bin Construction at Ceresco

CERESCO–The Farmers Cooperative Association’s new, 250,000-bushel capacity grain elevator being constructed here by Grain Storage Const. Co. of Council Bluffs, Iowa, is expected to be completed by Sept. 1, according to project foreman Doyle Elliott.

The elevator will have 120-foot high storage tanks, topped by a 42 1/2-foot scale house. Tank construction is one third complete.

* * *

Construction of the new elevator started April 1, but work progress was hampered by a lengthy rain spell during the initial weeks. Difficulty with the hydraulic hoists, which raise the movable wood form after concrete has been poured, caused a brief shutdown of pouring operations.

The wood frame held too tightly in some places and left a few unfilled pockets in the concrete shell of the storage tank walls. Construction workers are patching up the pockets and new concrete pouring should begin sometime next week.

Once the pouring begins the tank walls can be built up at the rate of 16 feet every 24 hours. “Most people judge progress in elevator construction by the outside appearance,” said Elliott. “They do not realize how much inside work has to be accomplished before you can proceed safely with the exterior work,” he added.

“We hope the elevator will be ready by Sept. 1,” said Farmers Co-op Assn. manager Leonard Palm. “We would like to get this year’s corn crop in. I think we will make it as there have been no serious construction flaws or delays so far,” he added. 

Editor’s note: Based on the Sep. 18, 1959 date of the Lincoln Journal Star’s photo and caption (top), GSCC did not manage to complete the elevator by the date the Co-op had hoped for.

We thank our friend Susan Allen for unearthing the clippings.

Tillotson Construction Co. alumnus Ted Morris leads new elevator job at Beatrice, Neb. in 1958

Beatrice (Neb.) Daily Sun, Oct. 28, 1958

The contract to build the 100,000 bushel elevator on the old Wiebe Lumber Co. property has already been let, August Grell said last night. He stated that the contractor is Ted Morris, Grain Storage Construction Co., Council Bluffs, Ia. They have materials on order and are ready to go to work, he stated. The Beatrice Concrete Co. has a sub-contract for furnishing the concrete for the structure, which is to be built at an estimated cost of $250,000.

Editor’s note: There is a discrepancy in capacity of the elevator as recorded in the two articles. We believe the 340,000-bushel figure is more likely correct.

The Lincoln Star, Dec. 27, 1958

Beatrice, Neb. — Construction has begun here on a new 340,000 bushel capacity grain elevator by the Farmer’s Co-Op. Being built by the Grain Storage Construction Co. of Council Bluffs, Ia., the elevator will consist of 8 concrete bins, 120 feet high with a 40-foot high headhouse on top to house lifting machinery.

We thank our friend Susan Allen for unearthing this and other clippings.

 

Beatrice Daily Sun, Dec. 26, 1958

Tillotson Construction Co. wins $110,500 contract for large storage annex at Gurley, Neb.

More Grain Storage Seen

By the Associated Press, Friday, April 25, 1958

Commercial grain storage in Cheyenne County will be more than half million bushels larger for the 1958 crops than was available last year.

The Farmers Union Co-op Grain Co. of Gurley has let a contract for the construction of 8 cement tank-type grain storage bins.

Ross Handley, president of the co-op board of directors, said a contract for $110,500 was let to Tillotson Construction Co. of Omaha.

Arnold Draper of Gurley, member of the board of directors, reported that this new addition will add 274,000 bushels in grain storage to the present plant.

Plans call for placing this year’s crop of wheat in the new tanks.

Work is also under way at Dalton and about 20 miles north of Sidney for the Dalton Co-op Society to add some 250,000 bushels of storage to its facilities.

Farmers Union Grain Co. of Sidney plans to have about 70,000 bushels of additional space ready for the 1958 harvest.

The added storage will be urgently needed if present winter wheat prospects materialize into a big harvest.

Estimates now call for a harvest from the Panhandle of 20 to 25 million bushels of wheat this crop year.

We thank our friend Susan Allen for unearthing this and other clippings.

An Iowa company built an elevator in Ceresco, Neb., imitating Tillotson’s style

For a small eastern Nebraska town, Ceresco is well-known within its region because of a furniture store, Ernie’s in Ceresco, that advertises widely.

When Kate Oshima visited Ernie’s to look for bargains, she happened to notice a handsome grain elevator with a curved headhouse.

At first we wondered if this was an unrecorded project by Tillotson Construction Co.

But Kate got a photo of a manhole cover that tells otherwise: Grain Storage Construction Co., of Council Bluffs, Iowa, takes credit for the 1959 job.

We find no background information on this company.

But the curved headhouse makes us wonder if Tillotson design talent migrated across the Missouri River to Omaha’s twin city and worked there.

Tillotson’s construction record ends at 1955. From the accompanying photos taken by Kate, this elevator’s style sure looks familiar.

 

Tillotson family’s 1930s Omaha home at 624 N. 41 St is revealed

By Charles J. Tillotson

“My oh my! The old house is still standing after all these years, which is at least 89 years.

“This is my Grandpa and Grandma’s (Charles H. and Rose A. Brennan Tillotson’s) home and where Dad and Mom (Reginald O. and Margaret I. Tillotson) lived intermittently for three years after they got married.

“I was born in 1935 in Creighton [University]’s St. Joseph Hospital and lived here for my first three years when Dad wasn’t on a construction site too far to come home. Dad built a small house-trailer so that he could take Mom and his kids along with him when going away. 

“When Dad finally decided to settle down three years later [after the death of Charles J. and formation of Tillotson Construction Co. with brother Joe], he bought a house with a fruit orchard located on the northern outskirts of Omaha. 

“I have a bunch of photos of the house while I was standing in front of it with my winter togs on, and of course it was painted white at that time.” 

A distressed, robotized Tillotson elevator awaiting rescue by Hercules in Wahoo, Neb.

By Ronald Ahrens

We wanted terrific in Wahoo. The fifth and final stop on our Jan. 2 road trip in eastern Nebraska called for it, in keeping with the unusual name of the seat of Saunders County and the town’s colorful history. We are told “wahoo” is taken from a shrub, the eastern wahoo (Euonymous atropurpureus), and the name was also given to a navy sub, the USS Wahoo

An icon for Nebraska 2020 road tripWahoo happens to have produced more than its share of notability. Wahoo Sam Crawford twirled his way into baseball’s Hall of Fame. Howard Hanson composed his way to a Pulitzer Prize. Darryl F. Zanuck swept up three Academy Awards. Geneticist George Beadle shared a Nobel and took over Chicago U. 

There must be something in the water: Wahoo had fewer than 3,000 people until after World War Two. A greater concentration of talent, where?

Electrodes on the brain.

Tillotson Construction Co. built a 150,000-bushel, single-leg concrete elevator there in 1950.

I had passed through Wahoo many times without understanding the elevator’s provenance and would not have thought to see Tillotson embossed on the manhole covers.

Notes in the construction record say our Wahoo house followed the busy year’s Imo, Okla., plan. It means five grand tanks of 16 feet in diameter and 120 feet in height. There’s a 13 x 17-foot center driveway, and the note says, “Split 4 bins over Dr.” 

Construction consumed 1,492 tons of reinforced concrete, 40 tons of plain concrete for the hoppers, and 72.34 tons of steel. 

The slab, 21 inches of reinforced thickness, covered 54 x 51 feet.

  • Pit depth: 15 feet 9 inches.
  • Structure rating: 8,216 tons. 
  • Curve of cupola: 22 1/4 feet wide, 42 1/2 feet long, 26 1/2 feet high. 

Our excitement soon diminished on seeing the subject and its neglect. What a shame to Wahoo. The use as an antenna tower is a terrible disappointment.

Things could be fixed up in a cute robotic way. Lay out a note of history, then rachet up each paying guest in the manlift, serving Wahoo wine on the dining deck. Block the wind and electromagnetic radiation, and it’s a regional phenomenon. People will come all the way from Loup City.

We visited late Saturday. The taverns had filled. Naught else moved. We extracted no information and must imagine circumstances of the elevator’s degradation. 

Wahoo produces all-stars, but the big star amidst, is disheveled and in duress. Like Prometheus, bound to a rock, an eagle preying his liver, Tillotson’s Wahoo house awaits Hercules.

Before Prometheus could be freed, he received a visit from straying Io, garbed as “a most lovely white heifer.” She recognized him, saying: 

You–he who succored the whole race of men? 

You, that Prometheus, the daring, the enduring? 

Tillotson Construction had a wet time of it when building at David City in 1951

By Ronald Ahrens

“Wet pit,” notes the Tillotson Construction Co. record in its details of the David City job of 1951.

An icon for Nebraska 2020 road tripA Tillotson crew put up a single-leg, 180,000-bushel, reinforced-concrete elevator in the seat of Butler County during one of the wettest periods ever recorded in the prairie region.

“Most of Kansas and Missouri as well as large portions of Nebraska and Oklahoma had monthly precipitation totaling 200 percent of normal in May, 300 percent in June, and 400 percent in July of 1951,” says a report by the National Weather Service.

But the work went on. The new David City elevator was built on an original plan with five tanks, or silos, of 18 feet in diameter and rising 120 feet. There was a 13 by 17-foot center driveway, eight bins over the drive, and a total of 15 bins and overflow. “Dust Bin @ Ext.” observes a further note.

The elevator required 1,716 cubic yards of reinforced concrete, 20 yards of plain concrete for hoppers, and 81.16 tons of rebar.

The 21-inch-thick main slab extended over 60 by 55 feet, covering an area (“Act. Outside on Ground”) of 3,057 square feet. It sat over a 17-foot-deep pit. The design incorporated a full basement.

The slab supported 3,513 tons of reinforced concrete and 40 tons of plain concrete. With grain weighing 60 pounds per bushel, there was capacity for 5,400 tons of grain. Along with structural steel and machinery as well as hoppers, the the elevator was rated at 9,458 tons total loaded weight.

An elegant rounded cupola, or headhouse, sat atop the tanks. Its dimension were 19 feet wide, 38 feet long, and 27 1/3 feet high. With the moderately tall cupola and moderately deep pit, the centers of the leg’s head and boot pulleys were 154.83 feet apart.

The pulleys were 72 x 14 x 2 3/16 inches (boot) and 72 x 14 x 3 5/16 (head) and turned the at 42 revolutions per minute.

Calumet supplied the 330-inch, six-ply belt that was 14 inches wide. Cups of 12 x 6 inches were spaced at nine-inch intervals.

A 30-horsepower Howell motor delivered a theoretical leg capacity of 7,140 bushels per hours. Operating at 80 percent, it needed 27.6 hp to deliver actual capacity of 5,700 bushels per hour.

A 1.5-hp motor ran the manlift. The truck lift operated with a 7.5-hp Ehrsam motor.

A further note indicates, “300 Bu. Dryer Split Bin #7 for Dryer.”