Harvestores/Lake Michigan, Cleveland, WI

Harvestores, Lakshore Drive along Lake Michigan, near Cleveland, Wisconsin (2.21.2014)
 © J. Shimon & J. Lindemann

The iconic blue Harvestore® silo or "structure" was the ultimate vertical vessel design for fermented silage (animal feed). Made in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by A.O. Smith as an extension of its glass-fused-to-steel technology first used in hot water heaters and beer brewing tanks, the Harvestore became a symbol of progressive, technology-savvy farm practices. From 1949 until 1984, Harvestores were going up all over Wisconsin and other places in North America--then sales bottomed-out due to an economic downturn. More than 75,000 Harvestores were sold in that time.  A.O. Smith sold Harvestore in January 2001 after various consolidation efforts. Throughout the 1970s though, farmers took on debt to erect the once prestigious silos. By the 21st century, feed storage went horizontal to ag-bags and covered piles preferred by industrial-sized dairy operations. Mechanical problems with the Harvestore bottom unloader plagued farmers and Harvestore. Slowly, the structures transgressed from state-of-the-art to relic. You still see them glinting on the horizon throughout Wisconsin though with fewer and fewer being used. Many are being torn down due to safety concerns. In collaboration with Worm Farm Institute/Fermentation Fest/Dtour, parts of a salvaged Harvestore® may rise out of the ashes as a Band Shell in October 2014...

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