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Froning & Froning Elevator
Tribune photo published March 14, 1955
This photo shows the facility at the Froning & Froning Elevator, 213 Duff Avenue. Visible are the main office with weigh scale, feed warehouse, grinding, mixing, and molasses house. The tall structure is the 45,000 bushel main elevator. Partly visible to the left is the 55,000 bushel storage annex. In a few years the elevator would be known as the Froning & Deppe Elevator.
Albert Hap Warren, elevator operator Mac McNertney, Lloyd Johnson
It takes a whale of a lot of know-how to successfully run an elevator business, and that know-how, backed with years of experience is to be found at the Froning & Froning Elevator in Ames. The elevator is located at 213 Duff avenue, and it is under the able management of Paul A. McNertney, who is much... much better known as "Mac".
The name Froning & Froning is actually new to the people of the Ames territory, for it was only January 1, 1953 that they bought the business known as the Ames Grain Company from Rex Purviance. However, for the past sixty years or more Froning & Froning has been predominate in elevator circles in east central Iowa. Their headquarters is located in Garrison, Iowa.
McNertney, however is no stranger to people in these parts. He was raised on a farm located Northwest of Gilbert, and spent 16 years in the Dawson Elevator in Gilbert before coming to the Ames Grain company. When the business was sold, Mac was conveyed more or less as a "fixture."
The basic business of Froning & Froning is of course, the buying and selling of grain. Last year more than a half million bushels were handled through the elevator. They also grind and mix grains into stock feeds to their customers specifications. And at the present time they are "watching like a hawk" over 65,000 bushels of government corn. In addition to storing the corn for the government they must fumigate it twice each year. The elevator has a capacity of 100,000 bushels.
(photo courtesy of Gary Moore)
This 1989 aerial photo shows the Duff Centre
complex which today occupies
the site which had been used as a grain storage facility since the early 1900s.
In the sales department the elevator handles prepared livestock feeds, farm seeds, farm commercial fertilizers, and miscellaneous farm merchandise. They sell Wayne Feeds, and Kent Feeds. In the seed department they handle Northrup King seeds.
In farm fertilizing Froning & Froning sells wholesale and retail. They wholesale to other dealers within a 40 mile radius of Ames. They carry two basic brands, Mathison Fertilizer and Davco Fertilizer. Last year they handled over 500 tons, enough to fertilize at least 80,000 acres with a standard rate of application. Commercial fertilizer is becoming more and more a must on all farms, for each year more farmers are proving to themselves that by fertilizing they can increase their net profit from $12 to $18 per acre.
This view of the west side of the elevator
from Kellogg shows the operation
which after 1956 was known as Froning and Deppe Elevator.
Last year a new scale was installed by Froning & Froning. It will weigh up to 100,000 pounds, and is long enough for any highway truck, Mac reports that many farmers in this area make his office their headquarters when they are in town. "They all know," he said, "that they'll find someone here to talk shop with. We have some beautiful bull sessions," he concluded.
One of Mac's secrets of success, he confided, is that he always gives his customers the very best that he has. His customers have also gotten to know that they always get a fair deal at Froning & Froning. Of course competition is pretty keen in that business, and it keeps you on your toes. And with a twinkle in his eye Mac said, "We have several customers that live within a few miles of other elevators... Why?, ...Because they have learned that they like to do business with us."
This interior view of the elevator office was taken during a 1958 open house.
News article from October 27, 1979
Learn more about the 1979 burning of the elevator.
In this Sanborn Insurance map (about 1944) of the area west of Duff Avenue and south of the Chicago and North Western tracks one sees the layout of the elevator several decades earlier, when the operation was called the Ames Grain and Coal Company.