Peavey Company 100 Years Old

Sioux City, Dakota County, Iowa

Retyped for PV Middle State by Barbara DeMarco

We of the Dakota County Historical Society cannot let this year of 1974 pass without congratulating the Peavey Company which throughout this year is celebrating its 100th anniversary of service to the grain industry, according to Merlin Anderson, manager of the Peavey King Midas Mill at Hastings. This and other old flour mills at Hastings were featured in an article in the January, 1974 issue of “Over the Years,” published by the Dakota County Society. At that time the museum received a copy of Kenneth D. Ruble’s booklet, “ The Peavey Story,”: which is now in the museum files.

Your editor was thrilled to read the Peavey Story for several reasons and was interested to note the important part played by Mr. Peavey and his associates in the development of the grain and flour milling industry in Dakota County as well as throughout the northwest.

According to Mr. Ruble’s booklet, Frank Peavey was born in Maine in 1880, coming west at an early age. After spending two years in Chicago, he came to Sioux City, Iowa, where after some preliminary experience, engaged in the farm implement business.

He often accepted grain in payment for machinery, and in talks with farmers, found that they had no permanent market for their grain, other than that used for their own needs.

Thus in 1874, this young business man began buying grain outright, which meant that he had to find some method of storing and selling his grain.

Author Ruble then tells of the picturesque 6000-bushel “blind horse” elevator that Peavey built in Sioux City in 1874—“and this small elevator became a milestone in the development of the grain industry.” The “Blind Horse” elevator received its name, wrote Mr. Ruble, because the only power available to elevate the grain was that generated by a blind horse walking in an endless circle, towing a post attached to an axle in the center of the circle.

From that humble beginning, it became a veritable Horatio Alger story as more elevators were built along existing railroads and Peavey convinced flour millers that he could offer them a steady supply of grain.

As pointed out in the January 1974 issue of “Over the Years,” the Peavey Company in 1928 acquired the entire capital stock of Van Dusen Harrington Company, including the King Midas Flour Mill at Hastings on the site of the first flour mill in the state, originally called the Old Gardner Mill.

So again we say, congratulations to the Peavey Company on the occasion of its happy 100th birthday.


Peavey Company Tax Record Book

Copy of the above Original Text

SILO & GRAIN ELEVATORS in Minneapolis, Minnesota built by Frank H. Peavey in 1899 and 1900.