Another view of Greenwood, Neb., through the eyes of Kim David Cooper

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In this oil painting, Kim David Cooper captures the vividness of the landscape around Greenwood, Neb. Through the assertive strokes and lively color tones, we sense the day’s pleasantness, the stirring of the breeze, and the fried chicken and cole slaw in the picnic basket.

“When I was going through my files I found another view of Greenwood elevators–forgot about this one,” Cooper says of the work completed in 2012. “It’s 16×20 and long ago sold.”

The elevator on the right was built by Tillotson Construction Co., of Omaha, in 1951, and it’s unlikely that anyone on the crew imagined the edifice would one day be in a fine-art painting. 

Detail right side

Detail view featuring Tillotson’s 1951 elevator at Greenwood, Neb. and the storage annex.

The 1951 elevator followed the Churdan, Iowa, plan established in 1949. It had four tanks, or silos, of 14.5 feet in diameter rising 120 feet from the ground.

The smallish headhouse measured 17 feet wide, 34 feet long, and 22 feet high.

We have posted about the Greenwood elevator before; all the specs and photos can be found by using this link.

Cooper is proprietor of Cooper Studio & Gallery, at 1526 Silver St. in Ashland, Neb. Phone: 402.944.2022.

 

In another oil painting, Kim Cooper shares his subtle vision of Nebraskaland

October Nebraska 16x20, oil on canvas Sold to Don and Lois Fick, Wahoo, NE

Today is the second of three straight days featuring oil paintings by Kim David Cooper. Here he shares with us a 16 x 20-inch oil depicting an elevator from … he can’t say for sure.

“I don’t even remember where it was from–possibly around Mead, Nebraska,” Cooper commented. “Didn’t write it down, and I’m getting forgetful!” 

In an email he called the work “October, Nebraska.” It was sold to collectors in Wahoo, Neb. (home of a Tillotson elevator).

Often when we see photography or landscape paintings by Nebraska artists we’re stunned by their ability to discern the subtleties (although nothing about a grain elevator is subtle).

This fine landscape hows just how beautiful Nebraskaland can be.

From Elkhorn, Neb., another of Kim Cooper’s wonders of oil on canvas

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Our friend Kim David Cooper has shared more of his work with Our Grandfathers’ Grain Elevators.

Cooper favors the plein air technique, which refers to scenes painted outdoors with the emphasis on spontaneity and seeking to capture the fleeting effects of light and atmosphere.

Here you see his vigorous brushwork and deft use of perspective, which makes the office portion of the building jump at the viewer.

Elevator 1“No cement here,” Cooper wrote in an email. “Painted on site, plein air. Buildings still there in Elkhorn, Neb.”

He also provides a photograph from the same point of view. We see how he captured the scene’s essence, adding life and spirit that simply isn’t found in the photo.

This 9 x 12-inch painting has already been sold. To inquire about commissions, call Cooper Studio & Gallery, located at 1526 Silver St. in Ashland, Neb. Phone: 402. 944.2022.  

 

Tillotson’s Greenwood, Neb., elevator appears in another Cooper oil painting

Corn and Cathedrals, 16x20, oil on canvas, Plein Air, 2015, Kim David Cooper

“Corn and Cathedrals,” used with permission. Copyright Kim David Cooper, 2015.

By Ronald Ahrens

Yesterday we showed you a painting titled “Greenwood Cathedrals,” a 48 x 60 work in oil by Kim David Cooper, a high school classmate.

The Set UpIt depicts the 129,000-bushel single-leg elevator built in 1951 by Tillotson Construction Co.

Here are images of another painting, “Corn and Cathedrals,” a 16 x 20 canvas that Cooper did in 2015.

This time the view is from the Greenwood cemetery and places the Tillotson elevator on the right.

Although “Corn and Cathedrals” was sold, “Greenwood Cathedrals” is on display at Cooper Studio & Gallery, 1526 Silver St., Ashland, Neb.

 

Tillotson’s 1951 Greenwood, Neb., elevator depicted in oil on canvas

Greenwood Cathedrals Full Painting

This copyrighted image is used with permission of Kim David Cooper.

By Ronald Ahrens

It has come to our attention that high school classmate Kim David Cooper, an artist, has completed a numinous landscape that depicts the Greenwood, Neb., grain elevator built in 1951 by Tillotson Construction Co.

In this view from the north, it’s the elevator on the left of the canvas.

Detail Left Elevator

Detail view. This copyrighted image is used with permission of Kim David Cooper.

Anyone who drives between Omaha and Lincoln on U.S. 6 will notice this elevator, which has a storage annex that was also a Tillotson job.

The 1951 original followed the Churdan, Iowa, plan established in 1949. It had four tanks, or silos, of 14.5 feet in diameter rising 120 feet from the ground.

The smallish headhouse measured 17 feet wide, 34 feet long, and 22 feet high.

We have posted about the Greenwood elevator before; all the specs and photos can be found by using this link.

Cooper, proprietor of Cooper Studio & Gallery, at 1526 Silver St. in Ashland, Neb., titled his painting “Greenwood Cathedrals.”

This oil on a large 48 x 60-inch canvas is now on display.

“We are Cooper Studio & Gallery and have been at this location for almost 17 years,” he wrote in an email. “I do a lot of plein air painting and commission work for customers.  Also framing and some restoration.”

It was my first contact with Cooper since 1972, who was good at baseball as well as art. Nice to come together again after 46 years–all because of a grain elevator.

A through-the-windshield glimpse of Omaha’s Vinton Street elevator

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Kate Oshima, a granddaughter of Reginald Tillotson, provides this through-the-windshield view of the Vinton Street elevator in Omaha.

We see the unique, tall headhouse and the runs atop the main house and extending to the annexes. We also see that the elevator needs some TLC.

Omahans call I-80 “the Interstate.” Kate says, “It is towering over the Interstate.”

A postcard reveals Tillotson elevator activity before the big changes of 1938

Post Card 01

We have found what may be a rare record of the Tillotson construction enterprise as it existed before 1938. Back then, Charles H. Tillotson led the company, which specialized in wooden elevators. After he died in ’38, his sons Reginald and Joe partnered in Tillotson Construction Co., and started to experiment, and then build, with reinforced concrete.

This card from July 2, 1936 is penned by Sister Mary Concepta, the older sister of Margaret Irene McDunn Tillotson (my grandmother) and sister-in-law to Reginald.

Sr. M. Concepta, born on Sep. 27, 1901, in Emerson, Nebraska, and christened Catherine McDunn, was the second of nine children. (Margaret, born Feb. 9, 1903, was third.) Sr. M. Concepta belonged to the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with a motherhouse at Mount Loretto in Dubuque, Iowa.

The parents were William McDunn (b. Feb. 4, 1871, Des Moines, Iowa) and Bridget Loretta Dorcey McDunn (b. March 27, 1872, Luken or Lucan, Ontario). Records show William as a laborer in Omaha in 1891. He became a conductor on the Nebraska Division of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway, and the family became established in Emerson, the town named for Ralph Waldo Emerson, which had come into being in 1881 at a junction on the CSPM&O (known as the Omaha Road). 

The family history comes from These U.S. McDunns: Family Tree of Patrick McDunn and Mary O’Donnell, compiled by John McDunn, of Lodi Wisc., in April 1989. The McDunns homesteaded in Pennsylvania in 1835. 

My Uncle, Charles J. Tillotson, whose name appears in many of this blog’s posts, had kept his grandfather William’s railroad watch–a Hamilton, of course–until a burglar struck in the late-1980s.

Post Card 02Uncle Charles notes that in the mid-1930s Reginald and Margaret lived with the elder Tillotsons at 624 N. 41st Street. They towed a travel trailer to job sites. In early July of 1936 they would also have towed along Uncle Charles, then 18 months old, and my mother Mary Catherine, who was nearly five months old.

On this postcard Sr. M. Concepta addresses her sister Margaret (Mrs. Reginald Oscar Tillotson) at Carlyle, Neb.

Carlisle–note the difference in spelling–is an unincorporated town in Fillmore County.

“I know the name because Mom used to talk about it,” Uncle Charles says.

We presume there was a wooden elevator. Carlisle is an unincorporated community in Fillmore County, about 135 miles southwest of Omaha. It doesn’t appear on our Rand McNally page nor does Google Maps seem to know anything about it. 

MapThe USGS gives coordinates for Carlisle on its Davenport Quadrangle map (named for a town in neighboring Thayer County), and we see a speck on Road X, west of Little Sandy Creek, that could be Carlisle. We called the Fillmore County sheriff’s office, in Geneva, and asked. “Nope,” a very nice woman said. “We don’t have a Carlisle.” 

Whatever.

“Dear Margaret + Reginald + babes,” Sr. M. Concepta begins.

Post Card 03“This card tells you where we are. Saw your Mother and Mary, Reginald. Mary is truly a nice girl and your mother surely is not strong. Won’t be leaving here now until Sat. morning. Just thought you might be coming in for the 4th. Don’t try it just for me though. Love, Sr. M. Concepta.”

Mary Tillotson was Reginald’s sister who became important to the family business and also is named in many posts here.

It’s hard enough to find a trace of Carlisle, but we would love to know if any remnant of a wooden elevator exists there.