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Plain & Tall
Vertical exclamation points in a sea of horizontal plains, grain elevators are a symbol of Oklahoma’s community spirit and self-sufficiency.
By MEGAN ROSSMAN
Photography by MARK W. NAULT
Published May/June 2012
“There’s a simple reason for grain elevators, as there is for everything, but the force behind the reason, the reason for the reason, is the land and sky. There’s too much sky out here...too much horizontal, too many lines without stops, so that the exclamation, the perpendicular, had to come,” wrote Wright Morris in his 1948 novel, The Home Place. Rising from that vast horizontal, the Oklahoma grain elevator became a twentieth-century monument to pragmatism and community, harking back to the state’s populist roots and the tradition of finding self-sufficiency in the soil.
Built in 1906, the Okarche Co-Op Elevator, above, is a case in point. Before CHS-Plains Partners purchased it in 2006, it was known as Mid-Oklahoma Cooperative and collectively owned by area farmers.