History

Continually adding to our history--stay tuned!


* R.J. Ackley history/images provided by Sandra (Renick) Stark - Great-granddaughter of R.J. Ackley
1873

R.J. Ackley born

Robert "Bob" Johnson (R.J.) Ackley (GC Coop founder) is born in Winchester, KS (NE of Topeka) on October 10, 1873. Son of Uriah Sanford Ackley and Margaret E. Varner. His mother died when he was six years old and his father was a scout along the Santa Fe trail for the Union Army during the Civil War and wasn't home much of the time so he was watched by his older sisters until family friends, Peter and Margaret (Martin) Noffsinger, Jr. took Bob in and raised him. Pictured: Young Bob - Age 7

1898

R.J. Ackley marriage

R.J. Ackley married Adelia "Delia" Mae Grable, daughter of Thomas Riley Grable and Mary Elizabeth Rousey in Effingham, Atchinson County, Kansas. They had one son, Floyd Elmer Ackley, born December 1, 1898 near Soldier, Kansas. (They later adopted another eight year old orphan, Edgar Milton Anderson in September 1931.)

1906

R.J. Ackley moves to Garden City

R.J. Ackley moves his family to Garden City from Osborne County by covered wagon.

1906

R.J. Ackley meets T.M. Jones

Shortly after moving to Garden City, R.J. met Thomas Martin (T.M.) Jones and the two become involved in the real estate business for two years. Ackley also built up a herd of registered Shorthorn cattle on a tract of land twelve miles Northeast of Garden City.

1915

First Charter Signed

First charter for the Garden City Co-op signed on July 6, 1915 by R.J. Ackley, T.M. Jones, A.R. Towles, D.D. Moore, C.P. Hamilton and contained the names of 20 stockholders.

1915

First General Manager

L.A. Dockum – First General Manager

1916

Woodworth Becomes GM

Charles G. Woodworth, G.M.

1917

Co-op Disbands

Farmers vote to disband after Dr. Samuel E (S.E.) Ball convinces them to invest in a chain store catalogue business venture that turned out to be a scam.

1919

Re-Chartered

Crops had not been good during this time but farmers had had luck with black amber cane seed, selling it for dyestuff. After it was discovered that the cane seed was being contracted to farmers through the non-co-op manager @ $1.50/cwt (while being worth $7.00/cwt), farmers approached Ackley again and pleaded for him to start another cooperative. R.J. Ackley was more apprehensive this time around but finally obliged and a new charter was signed.

1919

R.J. Ackley begins his role on the board

R.J. Ackley begins his role as Secretary / Treasurer of the board of the Garden City Cooperative Equity Exchange.

1919

R.J. Ackley becomes Vice President

During the August 12th meeting, R.J. Ackley requested to be removed of Secretary/Treasurer duties and take on the role of Vice President and nominated Charley (C.E.) Adams to the role of Secretary /Treasurer. Motion passed. Other members present: T.M. Jones, L.L. Crabb, Henry Myers (or possibly Meyer).

1919

First General Manager

Howard H. Everly becomes the first General Manager under the new charter

1919

First Elevator Purchased

First wooden frame elevator purchased from J.E. Kirk in August with a 10,000 bushel capacity for $10,750.

1920

1920 Board Election

GCC Board of Directors were as follows: Frank Reed - President (Chairman) of the Board, R.J. Ackley - Vice President, Charley (C.E.) Adams – Secretary/Treasurer, T.M. Jones & Henry Myers - Directors.

1921

Contracted with U.S. Grain Growers

The Garden City Cooperative Equity Exchange contracts with U.S. Grain Growers.

1921

R.J. Ackley Elected As President

R.J. Ackley is elected as President / Chairman of the Garden City Co-op Board of Directors during the August 23rd meeting. Henry Myers – V.P., C.E. Adams – Secretary / Treasurer, T.M. Jones & Frank Reed - Directors

1924

Second Elevator Purchased

Garden City Co-op's second wooden elevator purchased with a 60,000 bushel capacity

1924

G.A. Smith Hired as GM

Everly is let go in April, G.A. Smith hired as General Manager.

1924

Frank Beaty Hired as GM

G.A. Smith resigns in June, Frank (L.F.) Beaty hired as General Manager.

1927

The Garden City Co-op begins handling cream

1929

Walter Hopkins becomes GM

Frank Beaty leaves, Walter (W.G.) Hopkins becomes General Manager.

1929

Investment in Union Oil Company

The Garden City Cooperative Equity Exchange becomes one of five cooperatives to invest in the Union Oil Company in Kansas City, Missouri. Union Oil Company was first started as Cowden Oil Company in 1928 by Howard A. Cowden and in 1929 became Union Oil Company. R.J. met Howard who had conceived of this regional wholesale cooperative. Union Oil became Consumers Cooperative Association in 1935 and then Farmland Industries September 1st, 1966.

1929

First Gas Station

The GCC buys and operates its first gas station and feed store station on April 17th for $1,150.

1930

The Farmer’s Cooperative Commission Company

In the early 1930s, the Garden City Co-op takes a leading role in forming a regional co-op involving cooperatives in the Southwest Kansas area called The Farmer’s Cooperative Commission Company.

1931

Pierceville Elevator Built

Pierceville Elevator was built, a wooden frame elevator holding 18,000 bushels, purchased for $12,519.

1931

Peterson Elevator Aquired

Peterson Elevator, belonging to former G.M. H.H. Everly of Everly Grain Co. (1.5 miles East from the current Wolf Elevator) was sold to the Garden City Co-op.

1933

Tennis Elevator Acquired

Tennis elevator acquired for $12,870.58. This wooden elevator had 15,000 bushels of storage and was named after E.A. Tennis - the general manager of the Garden City, Gulf and Northern Railroads, having access to railroad service.

1934

Lowe Elevator Purchased

The Garden City Cooperative Equity Exchange purchased the Lowe elevator - a wood frame elevator with a storage capacity of 15,000 bushels for $7,000.

1938

Eugene (E.E.) Kelley hired as G.M.

Walter (W.G.) Hopkins leaves and Eugene Kelley is hired as the new General Manager of the Garden City Cooperative.

1942

Purchase of Government Bonds

The Garden City Cooperative Equity Exchange begins purchasing government bonds for the war effort (World War II).

1945

Elbert Anderson Hired as GM

Eugene (E.E.) Kelley leaves, Elbert Anderson hired as General Manager.

1947

Garden City "A" - First Concrete Elevator Built

The first concrete elevator just south of the Garden City headquarters Garden City "A" was built. The head house and west storage tanks had a storage capacity of 625,000 bushels.

1948

Herby L. Johnson Hired as G.M.

Elbert Anderson leaves and Herby Johnson is hired as General Manager of the Garden City Coooperative.

1948

GCC supports Cooperative Hospital

The Garden City Cooperative Equity Exchange donates $10,000 to the Cooperative Hospital in Garden City.

1948

Garden City "A" Expansion

An additional 700,000 bushels of storage was built at Garden City "A", bringing the total storage capacity to 1,325,000 bushels and was declared as the world's largest country elevator, receiving grain directly from farmers. It has two 8,000 bushel per hour legs, one 10,0000 bushel per hour leg and a 1,500 bushel per hour dryer.

1948

Original Garden City Elevator Sold

The first wooden elevator bought in 1919 is sold.

1948

Lowe Elevator burns down

In October of 1948, the Lowe Elevator was destroyed by fire.

1949

Clutter elected board chairman

Herb Clutter is elected chairman of the board of the Garden City Cooperative Equity Exchange.

1949

Lowe Elevator Rebuilt

In January of 1949, the Garden City Co-op board voted to rebuild Lowe as a loading point concrete elevator with additional storage later as needed.

1949

Wolf Elevator Constructed

In November, the Wolf elevator finished construction with a 100,000 bushel, four-tank headhouse with a 5,000 bushel/hr elevating leg for $90,300.

1950

Wolf Petroleum Facilities Added

The Garden City Co-op added Petroleum handling facilities to Wolf at the members request. A 12,000 gallon above ground storage tank and 1,000 gallon underground tank were added.

1950

Charleston Elevator Purchased

Charleston elevator was purchased from the Moore Grain Company in February with a 105,000 bushel capacity and an additional wooden frame elevator with a 17,000 bushel capacity at a cost of $166,000.

1950

Lowe Elevator Completed

The Lowe elevator finishes construction at a cost of $59,145. It has a storage capacity of 45,000 bushels.

1950

Charleston Addition

The Garden City Co-op adds an additional 150,000 bushels to Charleston.

1950

Tennis Constructs Concrete elevator

Tennis constructs its concrete elevator with 500,000 bushel capacity at a cost of $248,000.

1950

Clutter Appointed to U.S. Grain Advisory Committee

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Charles F. Brannan appoints Board Chairman Herb Clutter to be a member of the U.S. Grain Advisory Committee.

1950

Clutter Helps Form the National Association of Wheat Growers

Herb Clutter is instrumental in forming legislation that led to the formation of the National Association of Wheat Growers and is elected as the first President of the organization.

1952

Clutter Helps Form the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers

Following the success of the N.A.W.G., Clutter helped to form the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and served as that organization's first President as well.

1953

Lyon hired as G.M.

Kenneth M. Lyon hired as General Manager of the Garden City Co-op

1953

Eisenhower Appoints Clutter to Farm Credit Board

President Eisenhower appoints GCC Board Chairman, Herb Clutter, to his newly established Federal Farm Credit Board, of which he served a four year term, but declined reappointment in 1957.

1953

Pierceville Adds Petroleum Services

Two 3,500 gallon tanks were installed at Pierceville, providing tractor fuel and diesel, providing petroleum services for the first time.

1953

Wolf Adds First Annex

Wolf's first annex of 315,000 bushel storage capacity is completed in December, bringing Wolf's total storage capacity up to 415,000 for a cost of $125,000.

1954

Fertilizer Department and Anhydrous Ammonia Plant Installed at Lowe

GCC members encourage the Board to engage in the distribution and application of fertilizer. A fertilizer department is created and an anhydrous ammonia plant is installed at the Lowe location that August.

1956

Pierceville Erects Concrete Elevator

Pierceville erects it's concrete elevator holding 510,000 bushels for $274,000.

1957

George Voth Jr. Hired As G.M.

1957

Clutter Helps Form Kansas Wheat Commission

Herb Clutter instrumental in forming legislation for the formation of the Kansas Wheat Commission.

1958

Lowe Builds First Fertilizer Warehouse

The first fertilizer warehouse at Lowe is built for $29,700.

1958

Tennis Adds Annex

Tennis Elevator adds an additional 20 tanks, increasing it's storage capacity by another 500,000 bushels at a cost of $182,500.

1958

Tennis Wooden Elevator is removed

1958

Charleston Addition

Charleston adds another 236,000 more bushel storage capacity for $105,000.

1958

Lowe Addition

Lowe adds an annex to the elevator, increasing its capacity by 312,500 bushels at a cost of $130,000.

1958

Wolf Addition

Wolf adds a second annex with 505,000 bushel capacity bringing total storage to 913,000 bushels for $183,000.

1958

R.J. Ackley Retires from the GCC Board of Directors

After serving on the Garden City Co-op Board of Directors for 39 years, R.J. Ackley retires in May.

1958

R.J. Ackley Dies

After a brief illness, R.J. Ackley dies on November 3, 1958, at the age of 85.

1959

Charleston Adds Third Annex

Charleston builds its third annex with an additional 500,000 bushels, bringing the total licensed capacity of Charleston to 1,012,000 at a cost of $240,500

1959

Petroleum Plant Added in Garden City

A bulk petroleum plant is constructed on the Western edge of Garden City with a fleet of delivery trucks for $53,500.

1959

Clutter Family Murdered

On November 15, Chairman of the GCC board, Herb Clutter, was tragically murdered along with his wife Bonnie, daughter Nancy, and son, Kenyon, at their home in Holcomb, Kansas by Perry Smith and Dick Hickock. Two grown daughters no longer residing in Holcomb survived. The family's murder shakes the community and makes waves nationally through Truman Capote's book, "In Cold Blood". Clutter was an agricultural pioneer who's vision helped shape the Garden City Co-op into what it is today.

1959

Reeve Assumes Chairman Duties

Following the death of Herb Clutter, November 16th, Vice Chair, Chester "Chet" Lee Reeve assumed the role of Chairman of the GCC Board of Directors.

1960

Feed Mill Constructed

A Feed Mill is constructed at the main headquarters in Garden City at a cost of $435,000 and a 80 ton/day producing capacity

1960

GCC Changes insurance over to KFSA

General Manager George Voth is instructed to transfer elevator and truck insurance coverage to the Kansas Farmers Service Association in February.

1960

GCC negotiates loans with the Wichita Bank for Cooperatives

The GCC board authorized GCC management to negotiate loans with the Wichita Bank for Cooperatives. The loan could not exceed $1.97 million at any one time. (Wichita Bank for Cooperatives would later become CoBank, of which, GCC director of the board, Otis Molz was instrumental in reorganizing and serving as the first chairman under the newly formed "CoBank".)

1962

Contribution made for Rock Springs facility in memory of the Clutter family.

The GCC Board of Directors give $5,000 in April to erect a facility known as the registration shelter at Rock Springs Ranch in memory of the Clutter family.

1962

Chairman Reeve dies

On September 15, GCC Chairman Chester "Chet" Lee Reeve passed away after a lengthy illness. He was 70 years old.

1962

Vice Chair Ralph Gross made Chairman of the GCC

Vice Chair Ralph Gross was made GCC Chairman September 19th, succeeding Chairman Reeve after his death.

1963

GCC Buys Deerfield Elevator

The Garden City Cooperative Equity Exchange purchased the Deerfield elevator from former GCC manager Eugene (E.E.) Kelley - a 32,000 bushel wooden cribbed elevator for $45,000.

1963

Main Office Constructed

The Garden City Co-op's Main office at 106 N. 6th Street is built at a cost of $352,173.

1963

First Board Meeting Held in New Office

The Board of Directors of the Garden City Cooperative Equity Exchange held their first building in the board room of the new office building in May.

1963

GCC Invests in Experiment Station Research Center

The Garden City Co-op gives $2,000 for the development of a research center at the Garden City Experiment Station (NE corner of town - East of Jennie Barker road), now K-State Southwest Research-Extension Center.

1964

Anhydrous Ammonia Substation built at Plymell

An Anhydrous Ammonia Substation is built in the Plymell area a cost of $17,000.

1965

GCC Assists In Formation of Beef Processing Facility

The Garden City Cooperative Equity Exchange assists in forming a beef processing facility East of Garden City. This facility merged with Farmland Foods a few years later (after Farmland sold it, it was bought by Monfort and finally ConAgra before an electrical fire shut the factory down in 2000.)

1965

Deerfield Adds Anhydrous Ammonia Substation

Deerfield constructs anhydrous ammonia storage for $12,204.

1966

CCA Changes to Farmland Industries

In June a resolution is adopted that authorizes a vote a in favor of changing the name of the regional cooperative (that the Garden City Co-op is a part in) from CCA to Farmland Industries.

1967

GCC Sells Charleston Wooden Elevator

The Garden City Co-op sells the wooden elevator at the Charleston location (This elevator would later be torn down in 1980).

1968

GCC Constructs Feedlot in Deerfield

The Garden City Co-op constructs a 360 acre feedlot in Deerfield with land purchased from the Garden City Company for a total cost of $1,087,000.

1968

GCC Helps Form Regional Cooperative Far-Mar-Co

The Garden City Co-op plays a leading role in uniting four regional grain marketing cooperatives including Farmer's Cooperative Commission Company into Far-Mar-Co - a strong grain marketing regional cooperative that serves farmers in four states, based in Hutchinson, Kansas.

1969

Pierceville Adds Office and Petroleum Service Station

Pierceville adds an office and a petroleum service station for $44,300.

1970

Frank Lightner elected Chairman

Frank Lightner is elected Chairman of the Garden City Co-op Board of Directors.

1971

GCC Adopts Resolution Concerning a Merger Between Far-Mar-Co & Farmland Industries, Inc.

1972

GCC purchases shop and warehouse in Garden City

GCC shop building and McAllister Warehouse purchased for $18,000 ($15,000 for shop, $3,000 for warehouse).

1972

Tennis Adds Anhydrous Ammonia

Tennis adds Ammonia storage for $13,500.

1972

Voth Resigns as G.M.

George Voth Resigns as General Manager in March, effective August 31st, taking an offer from Far-Mar-Co.

1972

Foulks hired as G.M.

Harley Foulks is hired as the new General Manager of the Garden City Co-op, replacing Voth.

1975

New Dry Fertilizer & Bulk Plant at Lowe

Lowe builds a new dry fertilizer and bulk plant that is five times larger than the old building for $191,151.

1975

Pierceville Adds Storage Space

Pierceville adds on an additional 582,000 bushels of storage space - bringing the total capacity to 1,092,000 bushels at a cost of $398,000.

1975

Plymell Adds Liquid Nitrogen

Plymell adds underground liquid storage for 28% liquid nitrogen for $12,489.

1975

Gano Elevator Purchased

GCC purchases the Gano elevator (named for George Gano) from Far-Mar-Co with a storage capacity of 650,000 bushels at a cost of $700,000.

1975

Deerfield Adds Nitrogen and Bulk Fuel

Deerfield gets pit storage tanks, holding 350 tons of 28% Nitrogen for $12,489 and three 10,000 gallon bulk fuel tanks and pumps for $16,000.

1975

Hay Plant Discontinues Pellet Production

The plant stopped producing hay pellet in the fall, citing poor margins.

1975

Southwest Carpet and Tile Building Purchased

The Southwest Carpet and Tile building was purchased for the Co-op Farm and Home Center at 6th and Fulton ($152,000) as well as 5th St. Warehouse ($45,000). Remodeling costs for both structures was $50,000 for a total cost of $247,000.

1976

Far-Mar-Co Merger

In February, GCC votes for Far-Mar-Co to merge with Farmland Industries.

1977

Co-op Car Care Center Built

The GCC Co-op Car Care Center is built at a cost of $940,000. Service stations open at Deerfield and Pierceville locations. Midas Franchise is added in 1987.

1977

Deerfield Builds New Concrete Elevator

A new 1,077,000 bushel concrete elevator was built at Deerfield with two 10,000 bph legs.

1978

GCC Shuts Down Hay Mill

The Garden City Co-op shuts down the Hay Mill and sells the equipment in February and levels the building in 1979 out of safety concerns.

1979

GCC Closes Farm and Home Center

GCC closes the Co-op Farm and Home Center - leases buildings to Dale's Furniture.

1980

Farmland Beef Processing Plant Closes

Farrmland Beef processing plant closes, being bought by Monfort.