Posts Tagged ‘slip form construction’

1940s Construction and Watercolors of the Pocahontas, Iowa, Grain Elevator (Part II)

February 18, 2010

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In 1949, Mother (Marion Gunderson) painted two watercolors of the Pocahontas, Iowa, grain elevator/concrete silos. (Information about those two and other watercolors is available at “View and Order Prints.”)

Mother's (Marion Gunderson) signature on one of her 1949 watercolors of the Pocahontas, Iowa, grain elevator.

Not long before Mother painted those watercolors in 1949, Mike Hood, formerly of Pocahontas, watched that same Pocahontas grain elevator being built. The following is a continuation of Part I of Mike’s recollection. Most of the information below is about Mike’s family, but gives a “visual” of the 1940s. Mike was 8 or 9 years old at that time. As you read the rest of his essay, try to imagine looking through his eyes as a child…more than sixty years ago.

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By Mike Hood

(continued from Part I)

We had a pony named Fancy and a lovely little four-wheel black buggy with yellow wheels, that I was the right age to use. I could harness the pony and would drive the rig for hours in a hay field of about 10 acres south of our house. That house still stands on the west side of the road one-quarter of a mile north of the Pocahontas County Courthouse. (Grandfather Michael Linnan’s name is on a wall in the courthouse because he was a County Supervisor when it was built in the 1920s.) I remember that sometimes I would meet my cousins and give them a ride for that last quarter mile on the little buggy. I remember, too, that they would be dead tired from the hard work of pouring concrete for those long 12-hour shifts.

Pocahontas Grain Elevator II prints are available in three sizes: Small (Limited Edition, 10" W x ~12.3" H, $25). Grand (Limited Edition, ~ 17.9" W x 22" H, $50). Largest (20" W x ~24.5" H, same size as the original). Click photo to enlarge.

Jim’s and Frank’s motive, of course, was money for college. Their father, Uncle Charles Linnan, of rural Laurens, rented a 160-acre farm and was not extremely money prosperous in those days. Both of those boys graduated from the University of Iowa. Jim Linnan had a successful career at Ruan in Des Moines, and was the mayor of Clive, Iowa, when he died suddenly of a heart attack in the spring of 1970.

My uncle Bill Linnan was the father of Donald Linnan, of Storm Lake and former County Engineer of Buena Vista County, of Fr. Roger Linnan, who continues as a popular parish priest who served at Jefferson, Manson, Spencer and even now in his 70s at Haywarden, and of Karen Brown, who is married to a retired dentist from Montana, now retired in Sioux City.

All of those cousins were college graduates and were an inspiration to me. I was an editor at Successful Farming and Country America magazines, and now oversee our several farms and photograph antique tractors for calendars.

I remember very clearly sitting on the roof of the chicken house on that Pocahontas farm and counting five concrete grain elevators in what must have been the summer of 1950. Those would have been at Pocahontas, Havelock, Plover, Rolfe and Gilmore City. Obviously, the concrete grain storage technology caught on very rapidly.

We moved from our wonderful Pocahontas 160-acre place to a 305-acre farm bordering Columbia, Missouri, in March of 1951, and in a few years I would be hauling wheat to an old-fashioned tin-sided elevator on hot July days and nights. The famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright called those grain elevators the skyscrapers of the prairies. Indeed!

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(Click here to go to Louise Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

1940s Construction and Watercolors of the Pocahontas, Iowa, Grain Elevator (Part I)

February 16, 2010

(Click here to go to this blog’s home page.)

Pocahontas Grain Elevator II prints are available in three sizes: Small (Limited Edition, 10" W x ~12.3" H, $25). Grand (Limited Edition, ~ 17.9" W x 22" H, $50). Largest (20" W x ~24.5" H, same size as the original). Click photo to enlarge.

The November 10th, 2009, Des Moines Register included an article about Mother’s (Marion Gunderson) watercolors and the Rolfe, Iowa, 1980-81 oral history project.* Published alongside that article was a photo of Mother. Also included with that article was this post’s photo (at left) of one of Mother’s painted-in-1949 watercolors of the Pocahontas, Iowa, grain elevator.

Enticed by that Register article, including the image of Mother’s grain elevator watercolor, Mike and Sally Hood of West Des Moines attended the open house.

After the open house I remembered Mike’s telling of his first-hand story of the 1948 or 1949 construction of that same Pocahontas, Iowa, grain elevator.  At my request, Mike was generous to pen that story and allow me to post it here.

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By Mike Hood

(formerly of Pocahontas, Iowa)

It was exciting to be a little boy perhaps 8 or 9 years old in Pocahontas, Iowa, in the summer of 1948 or 1949 when they were building the huge concrete silos** to enlarge and modernize the main grain elevator in town. It was particularly exciting for me because my Uncle W. B. Linnan was supplying all of the concrete from his Ready-Mix plant on the east edge of town for this structure. (The Ready-Mix plant still stands much as it was then!) Also, two older cousins, brothers Jim and Frank Linnan, who were college students at the University of Iowa, were living with us and working on this project, which was a very good paying job with good hourly wages and, of course, long hours.

I remember that once they started pouring concrete for the grain silos, they had to continue nonstop until it was completed. They used slip forms that were jacked upward and were filled with wet concrete as the construction progressed. As I recall, my cousins worked long 12-hour shifts and walked home from work to our farm.

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At this point, I’m interrupting Mike’s essay. I’ll include the rest of it in the next post.  (Part of the remainder of his essay includes information about Mike’s family that he included for his daughters.)

For now, to quickly learn how (or to refresh your memory) the slip forms to which Mike referred were/are used to construct concrete grain elevators, please watch this 33-second YouTube video.

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* This oral history project was spearheaded by Mother.

** The silos to which Mike referred are the silos painted twice by Mother in the 1940s.

(Click here to go to Louise Shimon’s blog’s home page.)