Farmer's Mutual Helix Grain Elevator

Helix, Oregon Historical Walking Tour

Farmer's Mutual Helix Grain Elevator

Helix, Oregon 97835, United States

Created By: Lorin Kubishta


To the northwest, you will be able to clearly see Helix's lone remaining iron-clad grain elevator. A significant change to Helix and surrounding areas was the switch from sacked grain to bulk grain made possible by new technologies. By the 1930's, Helix already had several large sack warehouses to store grain. Large crews were needed to collect thousands of 120 lb. grain sacks from the local fields, bring them to town, then unload them by hand into the warehouses. Large bulk grain elevators like this one built by the Farmer's Mutual Company changed the way that grain was processed. Farmers Mutual operated five elevators in the area and purchased wheat, barley, oats, and peas from local farmers. They eventually supplied seed wheat as well as grain storage services.

The tall rectangular structure with a pitched roof is a form derived from the function of the grain elevating mechanism. The cribbed construction of stacked 2x4, 2x6, and 2x8 timbers spiked together proved to be effective in its ability to withstand the fluid pressures of grain circulating through the structure and the environmental pressures of weather pressing in from the outside.

Between 1900 and 1950, wooden grain elevators were very common sights across all of rural America. Crib style elevators were the standard up to the 1960s when they began to be replaced by concrete structures.

Eventually, Farmer’s Mutual was absorbed and operated by Pendleton Grain Growers, until they ceased operations.

The elevator is currently the home of Alpine Boulder Company.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Helix, Oregon Historical Walking Tour


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