We visit the former Omaha office of Tillotson Construction Company

By Ronald Ahrens

On May 10, I was in Omaha with my camera. One objective was to visit the former office of Tillotson Construction Company. Uncle Tim Tillotson had recently tipped me off to this, saying he helped move out the company’s papers after Reginald’s death.

“Twelfth and Jones–the Office, the OFFICE!” he said.

I parked at 13th and Jones in the southern part of the Old Market area and walked across the intersection. In just a few more steps to the east I knew exactly what he was talking about.

It turns out, the Office was part of an Anheuser-Busch plant of four buildings erected in 1887. Besides the Office, designed in Romanesque style, there was a bottling facility, a beer storage warehouse, and a stable. The other three buildings were torn down, but the Office survives.

One hundred and one years after the Office went up, a finial above the doorway blew down during a windstorm. It was stolen and has never been recovered.

Omaha World-Herald went high above the Vinton Street elevator in ’47

Omaha World-Herald photo in 1947 by John S. Savage, from http://www.historicomaha.org

From www.historicomaha.org

During the summer of 1947, the Omaha World-Herald published a series of 45 aerial photographs depicting the city of Omaha. The pictures were later published in a book entitled “Omaha From the Air.” The photographs were taken by World-Herald staff photographer John S. Savage. The plane was piloted by Marion Nelson of the Omaha Aircraft Company.

Omaha is known around the world for many things. Not the least is its giant grain and milling industry.

This view from the Magic Carpet shows just a segment of the industry which employs thousands here, puts bread and cereals on tables over the world.

From the Magic Carpet you are looking south. The large structure in the foreground is the 1,750,000-bushel elevator of the Westcentral Co-operative Grain Company. Seemingly rising out of the elevator at the rear are the buildings of the Maney Milling Company. South of the elevator is the plant of the Famous Molasses Feed Company.

At far left in the background is the Omar, Inc., mill. Nearby, but not shown, is the Allied Mill. The Butler-Welsh Grain Company elevator is behind the span shown in the background. Also not shown is the Kellogg plant. It is off to the right in the foreground.

The span in the foreground is the Bancroft Street viaduct. Behind it is the Vinton Street viaduct. Far in the background is the Dahlman Crossing. The street at far right is Twenty-seventh.

The two sets of tracks shown at left in the foreground are those of the Burlington. The center string belongs to the Union Pacific and the area is known as its Summit yards. At right are yards of the Chicago and Great Western Railroad.

Through the yards shown here come much of the grain that makes Omaha the nation’s fifth largest grain and milling center.

Carload grain shipments so far this year total 46,508.

Most of the grain pours into Omaha through the Omaha Grain Exchange, organized in 1904. Actually, only little pans of samples appear on the floor of the Exchange. The rest stays in box cars until it is bought, or is stored in elevators.

The market’s 18 elevators have a capacity of 28,185,000 bushels. They include one of the largest in the world, the 10 million bushel elevator of Cargill, Inc.

The railroads serve the grain market.

A good share of Omaha grain receipts is turned into food products here. There are three flour mills, with a daily milling capacity of 10,800,000 pounds. Allied Mills, Inc., has a capacity of 1,200 tons daily in its feed and alfalfa meal plant. The Kellogg Company‘s daily corn products capacity is 7,200 bushels.

A major Omaha grain consumer is the Farm Crops Processing Corporation’s alcohol plant. It can gulp up 40 thousand bushels a day.

Open house to welcome Tillotson Construction’s large elevator at Rock Valley


Photo by Rock Valley city administrator Tom Van Maanen

Rock Valley, Iowa–In June 1950, Farmers’ Elevator Guide reported a 270,000-bushel, $125,000 concrete grain storage elevator was being put up by Farmers Elevator Company.

In November the same publication reported an October 7 open house at the facility. Final cost and capacity were $150,000 and 310,000 bushels. This was “said to be the second largest in the northwest section of Iowa.”

Other key dimensions:

  • A footprint of 65 by 85 feet
  • Height: 160 feet
  • 34 bins ranging from 300 bushels to 28,000 in capacity

Features included a “cleaner room” and a grain dryer adjacent to the elevator.

Tillotson Construction Company, of Omaha, contracted the work.