Grain Elevator-Okaton, South Dakota

Okaton, South Dakota bills itself as a ghost town.  Technically, it’s not a ghost town, but if you stop at this easily accessible collection of old buildings right off I-90, the days seem numbered. There is a ghost town store that is open a few months of the year, and a couple of occupied homes, but for the most part, Okaton has a nice collection of abandoned structures to photograph.  Maybe the fact that it was about 95 degrees when we stopped and the fact that it was an extra dry year, even for South Dakota, made it pretty evident that this was a tough place to make a go of it. This grain elevator sits beside the unused train tracks, and at one time had “Bingo Grain Company” painted in white on it’s red sides.  At some point, the top part of the elevator was blown off by the wind, or collapsed, which if you’ve ever seen the size of timbers used to construct one, seems unlikely. This images to me conveys the tough life people had on the Great Plains…even the name, BINGO seems to acknowledge that an occasional windfall is followed by a number of unsuccessful seasons.

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