ELEVATORS – FARMERS COOPERATIVE
In 1906 St. John’s Elevator at Brewster was managed by D.H. MCKELLER. In 1907 D.H. MCKELLER, who had been traveling auditor, took the job permanently and Leonard MCKELLER became manager. A.C. SEVERSON was second man at St. Johns. The carpenters repaired the building, put a new floor and ceiling in the office and built a new flour house. L.J. MCKELLER resigned and Oscar SELEEN managed the business. Mr. SELEEN left to farm at Heron Lake and A.C. SEVERSON became manager in 1908. In 1908 St. Johns became the Farmers Elevator with John MEIR, president; C.R. WEST, treasurer and directors O.P. NORLAND, C.R. WEST, Pete WICKLUND and John GILOMEN, Will DWYER, John ULFERS, Herman CHRISTOFFER, F.L. HAGERMAN and A.S. ERICSON.
Articles of Incorporation and by-laws were adopted. In 1910 WEAVER built an addition to the Farmers Elevator. Herman LUECK shelled 2,500 bushels of corn for the elevator. A.C. SEVERSON and Jim HAGERMAN painted the elevator and signs. In 1911 Mr. SEVERSOIN resigned to go to Fargo, but later decided to remain here. The Farmers Elevator bought the Skewis Elevator and their coal sheds plus the coal sheds of the GEYERMAN Elevator. Brewster now had but two coal dealers, the Elevator and SMITH Lumber. The same year three new improvements were made, an automatic weigher to keep tab on all grains loaded from the elevator, which formerly had to be lowered into the pit and weighed and then hoisted into the bin; also a man lift to the upper portion of the elevator in place of a sixty-foot rope ladder and a new power grain cleaner capable of handling 1,000 bushels per hour.
In 1912 the elevator bought its first adding machine. The next year Mr. SEVERSON got permission from the Council to build a wagon scale on the side street.
In March 1913 it was decided to tear down the old Skewis Elevator and build a new one with a 40,000 bushel capacity. The building was completed and in January of 1914 was destroyed by fire. The fire was discovered by Lew STUDE when nearing town. George NELSON and George MANUEL who were visiting in the pool hall saw it and Mr. NELSON ran for help. Finding the fire whistle out-of-order he ran for the fire bell, which George MANUEL already had been ringing, only to find the large clapper had fallen from the bell hitting MANUEL on the head and knocking him to the ground.
C. GANZEL and A. GORRELL were the first to reach the fire. They broke open the office door and were carrying out the office books when Mr. SEVERSON arrived. The books were all removed from the safe. By hard work the firemen had it under control by morning, but the men had to have careful watch for three days and three nights to save the village from destruction.
About fifty men, mostly farmers, worked Saturday and Sunday through dirt and smoke to remove the damaged grain.
The value of the elevator was about $12,000 and the house contained between 25,000 and 30,000 bushels of grain, covered by $5,000 insurance. The building was insured for $7,000.
It is reported that a new elevator will be built in the spring. The contract was to let to the same concern that built the first one.
In 1917 A.C. SEVERSON and Jim HAGERMAN built new coal sheds for the elevator.
In 1921 the Farmers Elevator put in a new driveway and new platform on the scale. The elevator was also “tinned” in that year. In 1923 a new big feed grinder was installed. In 1933 a new inside Fairbanks Morse scale was installed. The elevator was painted a light color with large black lettering.
In 1935 a building 12 by 26 was added to the small elevator to be used for mixing feed.
In 1940 Mr. A.C. SEVERSON passed away. He had been a grain buyer for St. Johns and manager of the Farmers Elevator the past thirty-three years.
Rudy MEIER, the present manager, was bookkeeper since 1914. He was bookkeeper and made assistant manager in 1921. In 1940 Rudy was made manager and Allan SEVERSON assistant manager.
In 1945 the Farmers Elevator took over the Hubbard and Palmer for much needed storage space.
In 1950 the elevator installed a corn dryer which will dry 300 bushel 22 per cent moisture content per hour.
In 1951 new bins or storage tanks were built where the coal sheds were east of the main elevator. The sheds were moved to the east side of east elevator to be used as a warehouse. The sheds at the end of the west elevator are used for coal.
The warehouse beside the Skelly Station was built in 1943.
At the present 1958 employees are: R.J. MEIER, manager; Millard HAGERMAN, assistant manager; Mabel SEVERSON, bookkeeper, and Jack BAUCHLE, Herman NUSSER and Joe NAU. The Elevator Board for the current year are: George DAVIS, Robert GARDNER, Joe SMITH, Harry MCCUEN, Harold LUITJENS, Marvin BAUMGARD, Alvin EBELING and Ed LUTHER.
In 1906 Brewster also had the Skewis Elevator managed by C.S. COLE. L.A. THORSTENSON managed the Hubbard and Palmer Elevator although it had been closed the past three seasons. In 1908 the volume of business and quality of grain made it necessary to close the Hubbard and Palmer Company. Mr. THORSTENSON moved to Madelia. In 1911 Hubbard and Palmer and Skewis decided to open just one Elevator and as GEYERMAN’S was the best (built in the early ‘90’s) it was opened with Mr. COLE as manager. In 1911 GEYERMAN’S purchased the Hubbard and Palmer Elevator and in this year the Farmers Elevator bought Skewis and the GEYERMAN Elevator coal sheds.
In 1912 J. NIESSON came to operate the Hubbard and Palmer concern (formerly GEYERMAN’S). Wm. BUSCH worked at the elevator. In 1913 J.M. WERMERSKIRCHEN was the grain buyer here.
In 1915 James TIGHE became manager.
In 1917 Hubbard and Palmer replaced their gas power with an electric motor.
In 1924 while a freight was switching cars were being moved at a rapid rate of speed one jumped the track and struck the northeast corner of the Hubbard and Palmer Elevator moving the whole side one foot south. The elevator was so twisted most of the machinery didn’t work and the scale was not usable. This happened on April Fool’s Day, and when the town people heard about it they sneaked out to look fearing the tale was an April Fool prank!
In 1933 the manager of Hubbard and Palmer was Emil PETERSON. In 1936 Joe LANDSTEINER resigned due to poor health and George WEILER of Mountain Lake came. In 1939 the Hubbard and Palmer Elevator was razed to make room for a new and larger building. In 1943 WEILER left to manage the elevator at St. James. Wm. W. ANDERSON of Dundee managed a short time. Carl MARKMAN followed him. In 1944 Harold BOWDEN was manager and in 1945 the business was purchased by the Farmers Elevator Company.