Letters: Green Mountain Silos in Northern Delaware

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Cover from the original Green Mountain silo pamphlet J. Howard Mitchell received when he purchased his silo in 1903.
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The Mitchell silo in about 1949.
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Page from a 1905 pamphlet including a testimonial from J. Howard Mitchell on the merits of the Green Mountain silo.

Sam Moore’s article “Filling The Silo” in the September 2011 issue of Farm Collector brought back memories. Our family farm is located in northern Delaware. In 1903, my grandfather purchased a Green Mountain silo 107 years after his great-grandfather had purchased our farm in 1796. My father was 19 at that time and told me three Green Mountain silos were put up in our area at about the same time, but the other two did not last long. My father kept the original paperwork from Green Mountain Silo, including a 1905 booklet of testimonials from owners of these silos.

My grandfather stated in the testimonial that the silo was 18-by-26 feet. The staves were 26 feet, but the inside foundation was 9 feet tall, making the entire silo 18-by-35 feet. It was filled with corn and silage for two barns, being moved to the neighboring barn from this silo in burlap bags. In the late 1930s my uncles at the other farm had a silo built by another company, so our silo was never completely filled after that.

In 1941, we had the largest tornado in my lifetime. It was nothing compared to tornados in the Midwest and the South, but it was on the ground for 15 miles. A neighbor’s farm had the most damage. We lost a few trees and the silo was “twisted” on the foundation. My father reinforced about a third of the inside foundation with 4-inch concrete blocks. The staves had been loosened some, so the next few years it started to lean.

1960 was the last year any filling was done because my father and I sold the dairy herd in 1961. By 1970 weakness in the structure and gravity had taken the silo. Since 1995 our middle son and his wife again have a dairy on the farm, but with no silo. Today they do haylege in plastic-wrapped round bales.

Joe Mitchell, (302) 239-7565; email: ksmitchell1796@aol.com; online at www.woodsidefarmcreamery.com.

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