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. 

Seed money: Roggen safecrackers use welding torch, net $34 for the trouble

Roggen Elevator Safe Robbery Investigated

Sheriff’s officers Thursday investigated a safe robbery at the Farmers Grain and Bean Association elevator at Roggen. The safecrackers got $34 in cash.

Photo by Gary Rich

A similar safe job, but unsuccessful, was done in Denver Thursday night, Sheriff William C. Tegtman was informed.

Deputies Harry Mills and Robert Patterson reported that the Roggen building had been entered by breaking a south window. The office window was then broken, and welding equipment moved to the safe to cut it open.

Greeley (Colo.) Tribune, Feb. 18, 1955

Mayer-Osborn’s new Roggen elevator contrasts with the old wooden one

New Elevator at Roggen Skyscraper of the Plains

A skyscraper on the plains of Weld county is the cement and steel grain elevator of the Farmers Grain and Bean association at Roggen. 

It is 119 and a half feet to the top of the bins and 157 feet to the top of the head house. The eight silos in the elevator have a network of 19 bins with a total capacity of 250,000 bushels.

Completion of the elevator in September gave the association a total storage capacity of 330,000 bushels, with the old elevator, shown in the foreground.

It also provided the association with the most modern equipment for grinding, rolling and mixing grain.

The contractor was Mayer-Osborn company of Denver.

Photo by Robert Widlund, Greeley (Colo.) Daily Tribune, undated (1950)


Mayer-Osborn’s new elevator will tower over the Burlington tracks at Roggen

Photos by Gary Rich

Excavation will start Monday morning on a strictly modern 250,000 bushel grain storage plant at Roggen to be constructed for the Farmers Grain & Bean association, a farmers cooperative. The association stores and markets at Roggen the grain grown by hundreds of southeastern Weld county wheat growers.

The new building will tower 160 feet in the air and architects’ drawings show that its beauty will equal its great utility. Mayer Osborn company of Denver has the general contract for the elevator.

Site is 50 feet east of the present 80,000 bushel elevator of the association. Both elevators are served by the main line of the Burlington railroad.

Construction will be of concrete and steel of multiple slip design. Capacity can be enlarged indefinitely from year to year as need arises.

Marvin Jones, manager of the Farmers Grain & Bean association, said Friday night that the company is also building a similar but smaller structure at Byers on the Denver Kansas City line of the Union Pacific east of Denver. Byers elevator will hold 150,000 bushels.

Jones said that the new elevator will be ready for use by the time the 1950 harvest starts. He said the wheat crop in the Roggen, Kiowa and Prospect districts is looking fine. He said there had been very little damage from wind and that this was confined to the sandier soils of the district.

Present elevator of the association at Roggen will be kept in use giving the association 880,000 bushel storage at Roggen. Allowing 1500 bushels to a carload this is the equivalent of 220 carloads capacity.

The Greeley (Colo.) Daily Tribune, April 6, 1950