Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
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  • 208 The Corn Crib

    Corn crib on Schumacher Farm.

    Robert describes the corn crib.

    Much of central and northern Illinois is corn country and has been for 150 years. Before advances in mechanization and transportation, corn was often left on the stalk until it was needed. The development of transportation and the growth of Chicago as both a market and a transshipment point changed farming in the region. Farm sizes and scale of production grew, and subsistence farming gave way to agricultural products as commodities. “Drive through” corn cribs became the norm. The farmer would drive the wagon into the building and shovel the corn, still on the cob, into the “cribs” on the sides.

    With mechanization, farmers could run conveyors and fill the cribs from the top through a cupola on the roof. A rotating metal chute inside the cupola was moved to direct the flow of corn into the cribs. Cribs continued to be built as drive-through buildings since wagons or trucks still had to enter them to load.

    In the photo, note the small seed shed in the foreground. This is where Arthur Schumacher kept the several varieties of clover seed that he sold as an additional source of income on the farm.

    Return to the gravel trail, turn left and walk to sign #9.