A skyscraper on the plains: Camargo’s old elevator now leaning just a bit to the south

Great State
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CAMARGO, Okla. – The wheat is ready.

The sun is finally shining.

Harvesters took advantage on a hot, Thursday afternoon in northwest Oklahoma.

This one marks another in a long line of hundreds of harvests since this ground was just prairie grass.

Generations of farmers grew hard, red, winter wheat then searched the horizon for the closest elevator, which was always a tall pin on the horizontal map of the plains.

One of those wood cribbed landmarks still stands in the town of Carmargo.

“It’s still here, and it’s a beautiful sight,” said longtime resident Loreta Lingenfelter Dye.

The history books are out lately at the local store and gas station.

A reporter has come to town asking questions and, within the past six months, people started to notice the old elevator leaning to the south.

“We had some hail last night,” Dye said. “I don’t know how it stands up.”

Dye remembers more about this structure than most these days.

Dye wasn’t around when Cozart had its name at the top or when the Kimballs put on metal siding. She and her husband owned it for a time in the 1960s and 70s. They used it for storage when they operated a feed lot.

Dye recalls having to clean it out one year when the grain in the bottom got wet.

“My husband probably talked me into that,” she said, “telling me it wasn’t going to be a bad job.”

Wheat farmers in the area head to the modern elevator by the highway now to offload their grain.

Peaking from behind, though, is a little history hanging onto its prairie roots.

This structure doesn’t lean nearly as far as its cousin in the panhandle town of Adams, Oklahoma.

But, that elevator is gone now leaving this one and a handful of others across the landscape, skyscrapers on the prairie, for a little while longer.

“I guess the good Lord above is holding it there at an angle,” Dye said.

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