Silos that stand alone upon a piece of old agricultural land announce to folks traveling by that a farm once stood on this ground. They are flagships of a missing farmstead. The silo above stands by itself on the old Coy farm near Kirksville in Madison County, Kentucky.
This was once the place of several outbuildings and a farm house -- now gone.
I talked to a local man named Cud about the above silo. He told me that the land owner had considered knocking it down but it was too messy of a job. Therefore, it was allowed to become one of the silos in the region that are now the only clues that an active farmstead once occupied a particular piece of land.
The oldest silos that I remember from living in the Midwest were shaped in a cylindrical form, the exterior were square pieces of beautiful brown shiny tiles about two feet by two feet -- all placed from top to bottom around the silo. Each of the produced tiles usually had an impressed company name. I also remember metal types and cement silos. All were markers for folks trying to navigate their way through the countryside.
For those not familiar with silos, they are used to store forage for animals on the farm and usually were essential in cold regions. It allowed them to provide feed when there was none to graze due to snow cover. Dairy cows are dependent on forage to keep their milk flowing.
There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of silos that have been knocked down by their land owners and especially developers -- in the Midwest, Upland South, and beyond. But to give some developers credit, a few have saved their beauty by incorporating them into their developments. I even know one woman that built an antique shop on a piece of land and left the silo standing as a logo marker for her shop.
But in reality, the stand alone silo portrays a broken connection to a once thriving farm culture.