Editor's note: This column is from 2008.
I'm sad to inform you, Hutchinson, that you don't have the longest grain elevator in the world.
Not even if you plug in the words "under one headhouse."
At least, from what I can tell, you're in second place and your claim to fame amid your agriculture base just isn't true.
So, just who has the longest elevator - Hutchinson or Wichita?
Maybe, I hoped, the difference was the words: largest and longest.
I called Jason Bollman, the superintendent at DeBruce Grain. I told him about our elevator claim. I asked him about their claim.
He said their elevator had one headhouse. I told him ours did, too. He said their elevator was about a half-mile long. Our elevator is about a half-mile, as well, I said.
He said he'd call me back.
He did, an hour later, with the straight facts. Wichita's DeBruce is 2,657 feet long. Hutchinson's ADM is 2,573 feet long.
DeBruce also is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest elevator in the world, he said. Its licensed capacity is in excess of 22.4 million bushels.
Hutchinson's elevator holds 18.2 million bushels.
Bollman said Wichita's elevator was longer before a June 1998 explosion caused the company to remove roughly 30 feet from each end.
I didn't call ADM on the matter. They usually don't talk to the media. But I did chat with Hutchinson resident Bill Morand, the former Collingwood Grain president, who said, as far as he knew, Hutchinson has the longest elevator. This was the first time he had heard differently.
Bollman said Hutchinson could keep its title.
"They can claim it," he said. "We won't say anything."
One of our readers, Joyce, had this question concerning the long elevator.
Q: The story of the elevator at Hutchinson (one of the 8 wonders of Reno County) brought this question: Was the elevator in scenes in the movie "Picnic" starring Kim Novak and William Holden? I think it was filmed in the late '50s or early '60s in Kansas. No mention of this was in the article, so I may be wrong.
The answer is sort of.
"Picnic" was released in 1955. And as I said earlier, I wrote this article. I didn't put that information in because the former president of the elevator from 1972 to 1979, George Voth, told me it was the Collingwood Elevator that was in the movie.
After receiving this question, I called Collingwood's Morand.
He told me both were actually in the movie; although, the most visible views of an elevator were actually that of Collingwood. He said during a convertible scene, movie-watchers can get a glimpse of the long elevator, then the Farmers Cooperative Commission Co.
"The corner of the long elevator was in it, that's all," Morand said. "It wasn't the main focus. The picture in the movie with Bill Holden was at the Collingwood elevator at Fourth and Halstead."
Morand said back then, Collingwood was the Security Elevator.
He didn't work for the company at the time, but he did get to meet William Holden.
"He was pretty nice," Morand said. "I didn't know who he was until after he left."