Farmers Elevator Company
The first train on the Burlington Northwestern railroad arrived at Mt. Union November 11, 1876. Soon after that date W.R. Buchanan started to buy and ship grain. Most of the corn was shipped to cattle feeders in Washington County since the B & NW was a narrow gauge road, and all grain shopped to eastern markets had to be reloaded onto standard gauge cars at Mediapolis or Burlington.
In 1884 Mr. Buchanan built the first elevator in Mt. Union. It had a capacity of 10,000 bushels and was operated by an old mare hitched to a horsepower. Later a steam engine was installed. This was replaced with a by a single cylinder gasoline engine. The engine was started with an ordinary kitchen match. Apparently Mr. Buchanan sold to Baxter & Fye, who latre sold to H.G. King.
The C.B. & Q. railroad acquired the old narrow gauge road and on June 29, 1902 it was converted to standard gauge bed.
In 1904 a group of farmers incorporated and purchased the plant from Mr. King. The original directors were:
President – George Gabeline (1904 – 1919)
Vice President – Henry Eckey
Secretary – Will Eckey
Director – Louis Baker
Director – Will Deal
Director – Adolph Fricke (1904-1919)
Director – John Ford
Director – Edmund Lauer
Director – Victor E. Lauer (1904 – 1919)
Director – E.J. Mathews (1904 – 1919)
Director – Will Wick
First Manager – Louis Rasmus
Second Manager – Alfred Rasmus
This resulted in the first successful farmers’ elevator in southeastern Iowa. The elevator had two leg dumps and was covered with sheet iron which was painted red. The plant included a small double oats granary and two double corn cribs. The scale was covered and weighed both the team and wagon. An addition was built about 1912 with a combined capacity of 32,000 bushels.
A north elevator was built by H. Williams and later purchased from A.D. Hayes by the Company. The north elevator was destroyed by fire around 1930. The south elevator and addition were destroyed by fire in June 1953.
Elevator #3 was built the following fall and winter, opened for business in March 1954. Capacity was 30,000 bushels. Destroyed by fire in July 1958.
In 1956 the north cement storage elevator was built. Capacity is 201,000 bushels. In 1958 and 1959 the south cement elevator was built and opened for business in 1959. Capacity is 100,000 bushels. The petroleum plant was added about 1928. The propane plant was added about 1963 or 1964.
Farmers Elevator Company (Olds)
The Farmers Elevator Company was chartered on March 26, 1912. The original wooden head house and feed mill were built in 1912-1913 and are still in use today. Since that time an office area and feed storage area have been added.
Extensive renovations were made to the feed mill in 1978 to bring it to its current operational level. Several buildings were also torn down at this time.