When I began my explorations of Montana’s Big Sky Country in the early 1980s one structure particularly captivated me–the grain elevator. Certainly I had encountered these in the east, but in Montana, particularly in the high country of eastern Montana, the looming presence of grain elevators marked settlements both past and present. The elevators might be old and abandoned, like the one above at Kevin in Toole County or concrete and vibrant like the sets below from Glasgow.
But wherever they were located, they spoke of the promise of the homesteading generation and the very different reality of modern corporate agriculture of the second half of the 20th century into the 21st century. Thus, this post does not promise much analysis–I have tackled the topic in other posts–but it does include some of my favorite images of Montana elevators from my field study of 2012-2015.