Grain Elevator photography exhibit showing at The Center at Colfax Library

photo of Dennis Witmer

Photo: Dennis Witmer

Whitman County with its rolling, fertile fields is the most productive wheat growing county in the United States. The infrastructure that gets this grain to market, including trucks, trains, barges and storage facilities is so familiar that it is often taken for granted. But for photographer Dennis Witmer, the grain bins, elevators and grain storage piles are so much more. They are part of a landscape that Witmer brings to life in a new exhibit at The Center in Colfax Library called “The Grain Elevators of Whitman County.”

For the exhibit, Witmer photographed more than 60 sites and nearly every elevator across Whitman County. His photographs describe the continuing evolution of the form, as many small elevators distributed across the landscape are being replaced by a handful of large grain transportation and storage facilities using high speed conveyors and large ground storage piles.

One of the larger facilities featured in the exhibit is the new McCoy Grain Terminal. During Witmer’s visit in mid-August, McCoy was handling approximately 400 trucks each day and loading delivery trains at night. The facility was accepting about 300,000 bushels of wheat each day while the outgoing trains carried about 400,000 bushels per train.

Dennis Witmer grew up on a small farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He began making photographs in 1977, which continued through moves to Alaska in 1987 and to Spokane in 2012. Witmer mostly photographs landscapes, which he defines as human interaction with the land.

Witmer’s expansive exhibit, "The Grain Elevators of Whitman County" shows at The Center at Colfax Library, from September 1-October 31. Exhibit hours are Mondays-Wednesdays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursdays-Fridays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays-Sundays 1-5 p.m. (except Labor Day weekend.) The Center at Colfax Library is located at 102 S. Main Street or call Whitman County Library at 509-397-4366 for more details.

For more information, contact:

Kristie Kirkpatrick at 509-397-4366


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