You can take the boy out of Kansas but you can’t take Kansas out of the boy. Or so it seems. Otherwise, why do I find myself making constant detours to take photos of grain and feed elevators each and every time I venture out onto the grasslands east of the Rockies. Skyscrapers of the plains, prairie cathedrals—pick you cliche. To me the mills and elevators are comfortably familiar reminders of my childhood in the Grain Belt. I take particular pleasure in finding and photographing the ancient, shabbily picturesque ruins of wood-frame elevators and mills, their tattered galvanized skins creaking in prairie winds as pigeons flap through the broken windows of derelict scale houses. But I’m an equal opportunity shooter and also document those structures’ more modern replacements—soaring concrete silos arrayed in precise formations, accessorized with loading spouts, long conveyors, of glittering steel, roaring drying fans and, increasingly, remote control railroad engines to nudge grain cars into loading houses. Over many years, I’ve accumulated a sizable photo collection of mills in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, the Dakotas and Montana. Here’s a few.
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