Pawnee Rock Grain Elevator . Route 56 . Barton County . Kansas . Watercolor . 9" x 12"

... on Route 56, headed to NPS Fort Larned in 2016... I was struck by the sight of the Pawnee Rock grain elevator. Pawnee Rock, the village, is along the route of the old Santa Fe Trail... and back in the day, the actual Pawnee Rock was a 150 foot tall, rock landmark for wagon trains heading west. Most of that rock has been blasted away and used for construction since those early days and there's not much left of it, but a modest memorial and a monument. But at one time it was a grand observation point, allowing for miles and miles of an unimpeded view across the vast, flat, grasslands of the Midwestern plains. And Pawnee Rock was a notable gathering place for the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Comanche, Kiowa and of course, the Pawnee peoples... much to the consternation of those early pioneers. Pawnee Rock (the rock) was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. It was this grain elevator though, that caught my attention. There are a lot of grain elevators throughout Kansas... and most of them look like this, with wide variations in the number of vertical bins... but this one just grabbed me. We really don't have anything like these back east; although, some of the old cement plants are of a similar architecture. A rail siding that used to cross the road, where we are standing, and serve this facility has been removed... possibly all replaced by the metal bins located slightly to the west. I don't know, I didn't see anyone around to talk to.

... old post card showing Pawnee Rock's earler height... 1826

james mann art farm
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