UNION ELEVATOR & WAREHOUSE CO.

 

 

Lind Milling Co. - 1907


"Grain warehouses still lined Main Street, but the Union Elevator and Warehouse Company was beginning to dominate.  W. B. Davis was replaced as manager by J. M. Robbie, who continued the initial dictum: Serve the farmers.  They expanded service to the regions out of town - Smith's Spur, Vassar, Roxboro, Schrag and Pizzaro.  The concept was daring but effective.  The branch warehouses reduced travel distance and time for farmers, but also made marketing wheat easier since the elevators were all located adjacent to railroad tracks.  In 1919 A.J. Urquhart became manager and developed the reputation, deserved, as a real wheat trader.  The farmers could be confident that A.J., or "Urkie," would get the best possible price for them.  Combine service and solid markets and there can be little doubt as to which firm will survive, though the Seattle and Farmers Warehouses continued to operate during this decade."

 

"From Sagebrush to Satellite"  1988

 

 

Portland Flouring Mills Co,  Lind 

 

     "Union Elevator and Warehouse Company, which as the survivor is bound to be the center of this narrative, built the first bulk elevator in Lind in 1908.  A special industrial edition of the Lind Leader published in June 1909, refers to it as 'the largest and best equipped bulk grain elevator in Eastern Washington.'  There weren't many to compare it to.

     "By 1911 Union was buying grain and selling supplies at Lind, Smith's Spur, Vassar, Roxboro and Schrag.  The Smith's Spur warehouse was acquired from Turner Warehouse Company for $2800.  That was in July.  The Lind Leader for August 18 reported 'the Union Elevator and Warehouse company is building a warehouse at Schrag', that it had recently purchased a warehouse at Pizarro from the Central Warehouse company and that it was building 'a fine office structure' near its west end elevator.  In September the Leader reported "the three warehouses and the mill" were taking in wheat at a record rate.  And Union had completed and was occupying "one of the neatest office buildings along the line . . . . It is well furnished, well lighted and a credit to the town.

     "This is perhaps as good a place as any to point out that Union Elevator and Warehouse company did not survive its predecessors and contemporaries because it built the neatest office in town.  Talk to any farmer in Lind, particularly the fathers of the present generation, and they will tell you one thing - at Union you got service.  Men like J. M. Robbie, who managed Union from 1913 to 1919, and A. J. Urquhart, who carried on through two depressions and a World War, were men with the know-how to make the farmer an extra cent a bushel if it was humanly possible.

     "Union had entered the Pizarro area in 1911.  In 1916 the directors looked further eastward and decided 'to buy the Ralston property,' the minutes say.  The demands of World War I on the world wheat markets were being felt in Lind and it must have looked like a good investment to Union's directors.  In February, 1918, they voted to build a 'loose grain elevator at Pizarro of approximately 40,000 bushels.'  The directors told the manager to do it as cheaply as possible on force account.  He did and it's still standing, its mechanism still operated by gasoline power.

     "When Union bought Lind Milling, the office at the west end was moved and added to the mill office at the foot of L Street.  Union Elevator did business from the joined structure for 20 years until its brick office was built across First Street in 1952.

     "Union tore down the mill in 1934 and the east warehouse which abutted the crib elevator in 1946.  That elevator had been 'modernized' in 1938 by changing from gasoline to electric power.  In 1951 it was further modernized by adding concrete tanks and a steel flathouse was added just to the east in 1954.

     "Those huge grain piles which so many remember alongside the Union Elevator at the west end of town started in 1941.  In 1948 Union poured a concrete slab to help protect the wheat .  In the last several years it hasn't been necessary to use it except in 1961 when it was used by a salvage operator trying to rescue feed from the fire that burned the White-Delaney-Union elevator and part of the old Farmers Warehouse flathouse.

     "The original flathouse at Pizarro was torn down only this spring (1963) as was a jackhouse and elevator acquired at Paha from Centennial in 1958.  The remaining elevator at Paha was built in 1955 and the adjoining warehouse in 1914.  At Pizarro farmers are served by an elevator and concrete flathouse built in 1954 and 1960 respectively.  Schrag still serves with an elevator built in 1938, but Ralston, Servia, Roxboro and Vassar facilities no longer belong to Union.  The facility at East Lind was built in 1924 (warehouse) and 1937 (elevator)." 

 

Lind at 75 Years published by Active Club 20-30, June 7-9, 1963 

 


 

 

 

 

Wheat pile at Schrag - circa 1937

 


 

Wheat pile at Lind - circa 1941

All photos above courtesy of Adams County Historical Society

 

In 1912 the Adams County wheat crop totaled 3,245,656 bu.  In 2007 it totaled 14,895,900 bu.

 


 

 

J. D. (Doug) Urguhart - circa 1976

 Union Elevator Photo

 

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