Story by Kristen Cart
Benton, Kansas, was an interesting place to visit if you wanted to learn about elevators. Christopher, a worker for Mid Kansas Co-op at the Benton elevator, had previously worked at their Wichita, Kansas, concrete elevator. He took a few minutes to explain the differences between elevator types when I stopped in to visit during harvest. He also sent me some photos of the Mid Kansas Co-op’s concrete elevator in Wichita taken from the top and from the inside. I had a rough idea how elevators worked, but I had never seen these parts for myself.
The elevator was conspicuously clean. Dust could not be tolerated because of the explosive hazard, and cleaning took place before and during each harvest. This elevator was taking corn from the smaller Benton elevator on the day I stopped in Benton.
The photos show a few of the numerous large elevators in an area north of the city, which leads me to believe that Wichita is a major hub for grain storage and shipment in the Midwest. Except for a few very old elevators in the area they all appear to be in use.
I appreciate seeing some of the inner workings of an elevator. If you get the chance to work at an elevator and get out on top, the view is breathtaking.
- Benton, Kansas, offers some direct lessons in elevator operations (ourgrandfathersgrainelevators.com)
- In Monument, Kansas, the elevator is closed to visitors and its story sealed (ourgrandfathersgrainelevators.com)