ITHICA, Neb.- A family is working to preserve a grain elevator in Ithaca that dates back to the 1800's.
During a recent visit to Saunders County, we met with Heath Smith. He says his dad bought an old grain elevator from the railroad in 1972. It's believed that the grain elevator was built in 1867. Through the years it was run on both horse power, diesel power, and electricity. Heath says that is unusual to find a structure that used all three of those sources of power in the original building. "I believe it's the oldest one of its kind still standing west of the Mississippi River," Smith said. "It's got a four-gabled roof. A lot of the shingles are still original," Smith said.
People can see this old grain elevator on the south end of the village of Ithaca. Smith says his dad passed away in 2001, and family friends came together to help preserve it. Tin was put on the building and the windows were re-framed to protect it from the elements. "There was a railroad auction, and my father bid on it. I think his goal was to make a house out of it. When you look back on it now, owning it is priceless now that my dad is gone. It's a piece of him that's always going to be with me," Smith said.
At times, Smith has thought the building could be used as a micro-brewery. He says you can see for miles from the top of the old grain elevator. But for now, he says he will continue to keep the building preserved.