Blish Milling Company Grain Silos

All that remains today of the Blish Milling Company are the towering 109-foot tall grain silos at Tipton Street and the north-south railroad tracks in Seymour, Indiana. Built in May of 1939 of steel-reinforced concrete, the silos which can hold 100,000 bushels of grain cannot be missed in Seymour. Four-foot tall forms, built over one week by workers pouring concrete day and night, are the exact shape of the silos constructed and set on jacks. A quick-drying mixture was poured into the forms which were lifted one inch higher per hour, keeping the forms perfectly level. If the concrete hadn’t dried quickly, the building would have collapsed under its own weight. The silos stayed in use until the late 1960s.

The milling company was originally founded by Meedy Shields and Jonathan H. Blish in 1885. One descendant of the mill founders, the secretary-treasurer of the business, was Elbridge Blish Thompson. He and his wife planned a business trip to England traveling on the Lusitania in May, 1915. In February of that year Germany had begun unrestricted submarine warfare against U.S. ships traveling to Britain, in an effort to prevent the transportation of weapons or supplies. A news article in the Seymour Tribune (May 1, 1915) related that the passengers received warnings not to travel on the ship since it would be torpedoed. Most of the passengers considered the messages to be a hoax. The Thompsons boarded the ship. Mrs. Thompson survived. Reports were sketchy about E. Blish Thompson. He was seen handing out life preservers to a number of passengers and finally gave a woman with two sons his own flotation belt. The couple went into the water holding hands, but were torn apart by the suction of the sinking ship. E. Blish Thompson died as a result of the sinking. His headstone is located on the east side of Riverview Cemetery alongside many of the founding fathers of the town.

Around the same time, the Blish Milling Company sued the Georgia, Florida, & Alabama Railway Company for selling off a boxcar-load of flour that was on its way to Georgia. In transit some of the flour got wet. A telegram was sent to Blish Mills who sent a representative to see what could be done to resolve the issue. Meanwhile, the railroad company sold off the damaged flour and subsequently sold the rest as well. A judge determined that the railroad owed the milling company $1,084.50. The case eventually went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court which upheld the decision of the lower court on May 8, 1916.



102 E Tipton St, Seymour, IN 47274