An old piece of Lakeview architecture is finally coming down. Tommie Dodd, who purchased what was once Interstate Co-Op’s grain elevator from Chuck Kelley, is removing the main building from the site, leaving the two concrete silos.
Kelley bought the elevator in the early 1970s, several years after he left the armed services. At that time, the grain industry here had begun to decline, and the last load of grain shipped from the building in 1990, according to then elevator operator Dale Sauer.
Jim Ogle, local member of the Lake County Historical Society, said the place was built not long after World War II, and was originally purchased from the Weekley brothers by the Interstate Co-op. Ogle recalled that Warren Laird was president of the company when the buildings were sold to Kelley. Laird’s son Cook still lives in Plush.
The Co-op operated both here and in Alturas, with both areas raising a lot of grain at the time. “Later on, they quit producing grain,” said Ogle, “and there wasn’t much reason for the elevator.” So, the elevator eventually fell into disuse, with no one shipping or storing grain there any longer.
Kelley said there used to be a government program that helped to pay fees for storing grain in facilities like the elevator, which was later dropped. “The government also came out with a program of financing on-farm storage, and that killed central storage,” said Kelley.
Sauer remembered when a lot of grain was stored in the elevator by the MC and ZX ranches. He also recalled that farmers here raised a lot of grain around the valley, including hard red winter wheat and soft white wheat varieties, as well as a lot of barley and oats.