The Norman Transcript


December 16, 2012

Demolition of Rhodes granary marks end of agricultural era in Norman



Ray Doussett also worked for Rhodes Grain Company. He started right out of high school working for Cecil Rhodes at Massey’s. He worked for Rhodes off and on for over 50 years.

“I started when they were still making feed at Massey’s and unloaded grain down there in 1958,” Doussett said.

The original property at 602 N. Santa Fe Ave. where Rhodes granary is located was owned by the Kunkel family. McDonald said they were plumbers and a prominent family early on in Norman’s history. The Kunkels had a warehouse there, then Cecil Rhodes built the storage tanks and grain storage facility using the warehouse as his base.

“In 1958, Mr. Rhodes had wheat stored in the old block building, what you would call the warehouse,” Dousett said. “It was government wheat.”

Wheat was often shipped out in boxcars on the railroad.

There were two elements to the grain business. Storing and shipping grain was one element. Manufacturing livestock feed was the other part of the business, Doussett said.

“My dad was one of the builders on the sheet metal building of the milling part (of Rhodes granary),” Doussett said. “He was a dairy man and did construction on the side.”

“We purchased grain from local farmers and we would buy grain from trucking companies and store it in our facility and process it into livestock feed,” McDonald said. “When I went to work there in the late ‘60s our principal business was making dairy feed. We serviced 20-plus dairies in our area. All of them are gone now.”

McDonald said Norman’s dairy business evolved from “mom and pop milking a couple of cows and churning butter and cream.”

On weekends the farmers would bring those dairy products to town to sell and would hang around and spend some of those earnings.

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