History of Ayr, North Dakota Elevators


The first elevator in Ayr, North Dakota was built by the Cargill Grain Company after the railroad came through in June of 1882. It was a flat house, and was managed by F.H. Dickinson. Later, the Park Farms built a round elevator. These early elevators were located across the road from the Presbyterian Church. Before these buildings were constructed, settlers had to haul their grain by mule team to Ripon, just beyond the current site of Absaraka, or to Wheatland. Blind horses were used for power in the early elevators. Both of these elevators were destroyed by fire.

The next elevator was built at the place where the sunflower elevator was in 1983, across from the Hagen Park. It changed ownership several times, but the records indicate that the north elevator was owned by Winter and Ames in 1906, and by Holter in 1915, and was then purchased by International Elevator Company in 1918. The McCabe Company bought the International Elevator Company in the early 1950s.

The Ayr Farmers Elevator was built by the Ayr Famers Association. It was a double elevator constructed around 1910, at the place where the current (1983) elevator now stands. It is located across the street from Dar’s Bar. A lumber yard, operated in connection with this elevator, was located east of the Jack Scott house.

Ayr Farmers Elevator and International Elevator (circa 1918)
Ayr Farmers Elevator and International Elevator (1918)

The members of the elevator board in 1917 were James Beattie (president), W.A. Hassing (secretary), and N.K. Nelson, James Moug, Herbert McCaul, W.P. Rose, and W.H. Martyn (directors). James Montgomery was the manager.

The Ayr Farmers Elevator operated everything in the building with a gas engine around 1918. The elevator burned in 1927, and was rebuilt at the same site in 1928.

The company put in a Guerney WNAX bulk gasoline and oil station in the 1930s. They sold blended gasoline and alcohol. Some of the managers were T.A. Kinneberg, Gordon Morrison, Howard Mitchell, Merrill Johnson, and Keith Johnson.

The McCabe Company purchased the Ayr Farmers Elevator, as well as the oil business. Sometime before 1954, they also bought the International Elevator, and ran the two elevators as one company. In 1954, the old International Elevator was hit by a train and damaged extensively. Rather than repairing this annex, they built a new one.

In 1958, Farmers Union Grain Terminal Association bought the business from McCabe. It was at this point that Keith Johnson, who had managed the oil business for McCabe since 1950, bought the oil business from Farmers Union Grain Terminal Association, and was still running the business in 1983, when the Ayr, North Dakota 100th anniversary book was published. He had renamed it to Johnson Oil Company. Mr. Johnson passed away on April 11, 2012.

The Arthur Elevator Company bought the local Farmers Union Grain Terminal Association elevator in 1967, and greatly improved the system, adding a fertilizer plant, a new complete unit for sunflowers, and 250,000 bushels of added grain storage space. In 1981, they built a new, modern office. Robert Moore was the manager in 1983. Throughout the years, some of the other elevator managers have included James Montgomery, Jack Law, Thomas Scott, Jenson, Orville Christianson, Carl Kallander, Web Smith, Bennie Erickson, and Howard Mitchell.

Arthur Farmers Elevator in Ayr, North Dakota
Arthur Farmers Elevator (Ayr)

Ayr, North Dakota History: Elevators
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