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  • The early 1900's was a period of time when prairie farmers were producing more and more corn each year while distant grain markets were expanding.

  • The expansion of the grain trade led to the development of a bulk system for inspection, grading, and storage of grain in giant bins, rather than the use of individual sacks.

  • The movement of greater quantities of grain by train necessitated the building of storage facilities along the rail lines.

At the turn of the century Atlanta, Illinois was located along the routes of two railroads which led directly to cities where the grain could be sold and processed. Knowing this, if Try It Yourself!you were J. H. Hawes planning to build an elevator back in 1903 to 1904, where would you put it? Try the activity above to test your choices on a map of Atlanta, Illinois from this time period.

Atlanta proved to be a good location, as the J. H. Hawes Elevator was in business for 73 years until it ceased operation in 1976.

The J. H. Hawes Grain Elevator is sixty feet tall and one of a very few wooden elevators still standing today. Inside the elevator, a vertical conveyor system takes the grain from a lower pit up to the top of the elevator and drops it into one of the elevator storage bins.

Click floorplan to explore how this elevator worked.


Illinois. Mile After Magnificent Mile.