Travel Superlatives: Hutchinson grain elevator

worlds-longest-grain-elevatorI am a city kid, and I like it that way.

Even in Texas, we do not all live on ranches amongst Longhorn cattle and tumbleweeds.

When traveling through agricultural areas, I spend a lot of puzzled time thinking, “What IS that thing?!” and learning farm kid basics like the anatomical difference between a bull and a steer.

So it was when I arrived in Hutchinson, Kansas for a blogger’s press/media trip….as we passed this humongous long, white building that dominated the flat skyline, all I knew was that it was somehow grain-related.

The helpful local guy driving me to the hotel, Glen, explained that it was the World’s Longest Grain Elevator, stretching for about a half-mile.

At capacity, it can hold 18.2 million bushels of Kansas wheat (that’s about 1.3 billion loaves of bread, which is a lot of PBJs, I must say.)

Glen was rather bemused when I asked to jump out and take a photo; when you live somewhere for a long time, it’s easy to forget that a local landmark is quite striking to the new visitor.


Apparently the owner, ADM – the agricultural conglomerate formerly known as Archer Daniels Midland did a KFC on themselves – doesn’t give tours.  Too bad; I’d pay to get in there and see the elevator’s inner workings, although such buildings have blown up and killed people.

There are railroad tracks running past the elevators so that grain cars can pull up, fill up and then head to places like the Port of Houston to export American wheat to the world.

In travel, there is always more than meets the eye, of course. From where I was standing to take the photo, I could have drilled straight down below me for a little over 600 feet and I’d have broken through and bounced on the floor of a museum connected to a working salt mine.

But that’s another Hutch post….

(Update June 2009 – I’ve decided that my Hutch posts warrant an additional disclosure line since some readers might not understand the term “blogger fam tour.” The Cosmosphere and Hutchinson CVB paid for my lodging and expenses while I was in Hutchinson. They did not tell me what I could or could not write about. I paid my own airfare to/from Kansas.) 

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  1. Kent Voth September 6, 2020
    • Sheila Scarborough September 8, 2020

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