NORMAN — Editor’s note: This is first in a two-part series exploring Norman’s history in connection with the Rhodes granary and the rise and fall of the local, small dairy industry.
The demolition of the Rhodes granary began Wednesday following approval of the contract by the Norman City Council on Tuesday. Rhodes Grain Company’s time has come and gone, and with it, the agricultural era that once marked Norman and most of America’s history.
“I always found it a very interesting structure,” said long-time Norman resident Bob Goins who lived nearby. “It’s going to be missed by some of us... I understand these things are part of our changing urban scene.”
For Norman, the story of the granary revolves around the rise and fall of the local, small dairy industry and the grain that once fed dairy cattle.
Cecil Rhodes, founder of Rhodes Grain Company, first got into the business when he purchased Massey Grain Company at 104 W. Comanche where Food and Shelter for Friends is now, said Richard McDonald who worked for Rhodes Granary for 40 years.
Cecil Rhodes had two daughters, Sherry and Kathy. McDonald married Sherry Rhodes. Mrs. Cecil Rhodes is 92 and living in an assisted living center in Oklahoma City, McDonald said. Cecil Rhodes passed away in 2003, and McDonald ran the granary until it went out of business in 2008.
McDonald thinks Cecil Rhodes bought Massey’s in the early ‘50s. Massey Grain Company is listed in a 1950 Norman telephone directory.
“At that time there was a lot of farming going on and they bought grain from the area farmers,” McDonald said.
Massey operated a livery stable, an ice dock and a feed business but had no children which opened the door for Cecil Rhodes to buy the business.
Cecil Rhodes worked a deal to take over the granary business and then purchased the property north of Acres Street in the ‘50s, McDonald said.