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Hazen Bridge

April 18, 2013 1 comment

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Built in 1893 the Hazen Bridge is located north of Mahomet, Illinois.  It has been closed to vehicle traffic for at least twenty years.  Amazingly, when a new bridge was built just slightly to the south the Hazen Bridge was preserved.  The unusual thing about this bridge is the long approaches over a suspended wooden plank roadbed.

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I can say from personal experience that crossing this bridge in a car got your attention. I have crossed a lot of bridges with a wooden plank roadbed, however the length of this bridge was unique in my experience. So while most of the old truss bridges are now gone I am glad that this remarkable example is still here. I took some photos there a while back and just got around to doing something with them.

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Categories: history, Places Tags:

Corn Cribs

April 11, 2013 3 comments

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I have the habit when on trips of taking pictures out the car windows. Not the best way to get a good image, however it is something to do.  Out in the open farm country corn cribs make a good target.  There are still a lot of them around, however most haven’t received much upkeep in many years.  You would have to be in your 50’s to have seen a corn crib being used for what it was intended.  And that was to store ears of corn until they were dry and ready to be shelled and taken to the grain elevator. That practice stopped in the 1960’s and corn cribs have been without much of a use since then.

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The image above shows what around here was called a corn dump.  I don’t see many of these around.  And most of the ones I do see are like the one in the photo.  Rusting away while still in place next to the corn crib that it once served.  The Corn dump lifted the ears of corn to the top of the corn crib where the corn was directed by shoots to the bins on either side of the corn crib.  I imagine it was a pain to have to climb up to the shoots when it came time to move them.

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The metal grain bins on both sides of this corn crib are what has replaced the corn crib.  They store shelled corn and usually have some means of drying that corn. Some people tried to adapt corn cribs to holding shelled corn, however that doesn’t seem to have worked out too well. Although I can see why it would be tried. I imagine some farmers had invested a fair amount of money in building a corn crib and didn’t want it to become useless.  Unlike barns most corn cribs were not that old by the time that shelled in the field corn came along. The need for large corn cribs didn’t come up until yields increased greatly with hybrid corn in the 1930’s.  And corn cribs were still being built at a fairly quick rate in the 1950’s and early 1960’s.  Just in the small area that I grew up in I can remember a few large corn cribs going up just a few years before field shelled corn put them out of a job.

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A lot of people who have no way of knowing better call corn cribs barns.  However a corn crib is a much more specialized building than the traditional barn and has a different history.  Hopefully here I have enlightened a few about corn cribs.

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Categories: farm, history Tags: ,