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It was during the period 1900-1920 that the process of agriculture was mechanized — mainly as a result of the invention of the automobile and the two spin-off products from it, trucks and tractors. These new inventions eventually replaced the horse as the primary means of transportation and work in the business of agriculture.

When first constructed in 1904, the interior of the J. H. Hawes Elevator was designed to accommodate the means of transporting corn at the time: horses and the wagons they pulled. The position of the trapdoor for the receiving pit and the dump log mechanism were both designed expressly with horses and wagons in mind.
During the 1920s, as more and more farmers made the switch from literal horse power to trucks, the interior of the Elevator was fitted with both an electric hoist mechanism designed to lift the front end of trucks in order to dump their loads of corn, and a newly positioned trapdoor was installed for access to the receiving pit in order to accommodate the length of a truck as opposed to that of a wagon.

The relationship farm families had with the town where they brought their corn also changed in the period 1900-1920.

When the Hawes Elevator was opened in 1904, the words: walking, horses, mud roads, and railroads pretty much summed up the transportation options available to a farm family. These modes and conditions of transportation also impacted the relationship a farm family had with the nearest town by which it lived. For example, the members of a farm family made infrequent trips to town, where they bought those items they couldn't raise or make themselves, and took advantage of whatever form of entertainment the town could provide. They rarely ventured beyond town due to the expense and sheer inconvenience involved. "Hardroads," i.e. ones constructed of concrete, and the availability of automobiles changed this relationship, by providing farm families with more choice of where to shop and where to go for entertainment. Automobiles and speedy routes to adjoining cities with their greater variety of goods and entertainments spelled doom for some local merchants. At the same time, these transportation advances also produced new local businesses, such as gas stations and car dealerships.




Illinois. Mile After Magnificent Mile.