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The Tekoa Grain Elevator in Whitman County, WA.
Photo by: Mark Borleske | All Rights Reserved
Around 1907, the Tekoa Grain Company cooperative built a flathouse—a storage facility for grain—along the anticipated (but not yet constructed) railway of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad. The flathouse could store up to 130 sacks of wheat awaiting transport to market. In 1914, the Tekoa Grain Company built an additional, but different kind, of storage facility: an almost 100-foot-tall, cribbed grain elevator that could sort and store massive quantities of grain. The railroad could quickly and cheaply transport grain, making it more advantageous to farmers to sell it in bulk quantities instead of the more labor-intensive process of each individual farmer harvesting and bagging their own wheat, which then had to be loaded onto the train and individually sold when they got to market. The grain elevator combined multiple farmers’ wheat, and sold it and shipped it in bulk quantities via the railroad—an advantageous technological development for Eastern Washington farmers.
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