End of an Era: Key's Last Wooden Grain Elevator Demolished

Apr 08, 2024

Key Cooperative's last wooden grain elevator, located in Roland, was demolished by a controlled training burn on Saturday, March 23, 2024. The structure has towered above the town of Roland for decades and served area farmers well. As we look to the future, we are thankful for newer grain facilities that will continue to serve the community for years to come!

Roland Elevator History
The elevator was constructed 68 years ago (1956) by Mill and Elevator Service of Des Moines, IA with 13 railcars of lumber. The structure was 90 feet long, 40 feet wide, and 106 feet tall with a capacity of 140,000 bushels in 28 separate bins. The cost of construction was roughly $100,000.

The Roland Farmers Co-op held an open house on Saturday, August 18, 1956 to allow the public to tour the facility. An estimated 1,500 people attended the event and reportedly consumed 100 dozen doughnuts, 35 cases of pop and 840 cups of coffee! The highlight of the event was that the public was allowed to ride the elevator to the top and enjoy the panoramic view of Roland and the surrounding countryside.

Event Volunteers
The controlled burn served as a training exercise for local fire departments. Fire Training Consultants of Humbolt, IA conducted the training, coordinating with the Roland volunteer fire department and 12 neighboring departments, including: Story City, Radcliffe, Nevada, Ames, Colo, Maxwell, McCallsburg, Zearing, Gilbert and Huxley. Nearly 100 local volunteer firefighters participated in the event. Mary Greeley Medical Center provided back-up medical support. 

Over a dozen Key Cooperative employees participated in the event by providing lunch or serving for the day with their local departments. Key is proud of our employees who choose to serve their communities. We are also thankful for the partnership of local volunteer fire departments and EMT’s - they are vital for our business and provide critical services to our communities. We appreciate their presence and service every day!

Thank you to everyone who helped with the event! 

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View drone footage from the event in our "April Key News in 2" video.