City councilman reflects on loss of historical Greenwood co-op

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Picture courtesy of Michelle Hecker

GREENWOOD — A piece of agricultural history is now gone in Greenwood. 

The old co-op grain elevator building burned down Tuesday afternoon. CBS4 brought you the news first as it was developing live. 

The co-op was built back in 1896. The timbers used to construct it were hewn by hand. 

While the building was vacant when flames erupted, it held many memories for those who grew up in the area, including City Councilman Robert Dine. 

“I remember coming to the old co-op as a child,” Dine said. “It was like one of those old tv shows. My dad had grain trucks and hauled grain for farmers. They had a stove in there, they had a checkerboard where farmers could sit and play cards and they had a Coke machine; you could get peanuts for a penny and you know it was kind of a gathering place for guys to sit and tell lies.”

Dine says the city had hoped to one day purchase the co-op and convert it into a mixed-use facility of some kind. 

“The city eventually wanted to buy it and refurbish everything and turn it into a landmark. Whether it be a city center to direct people or for the businesses to drop off information for,” Dine said. “This was sort of the center of Greenwood – this was Greenwood, this was it. The downtown area where everything was.”

CBS4 reached out to The Greenwood Fire Department Wednesday as they were canvassing the site, taking pictures, on any update to the cause of the fire which remains under investigation at this point. 

“The fire department never had a chance. They did a good job containing it to the property line, but the fire was already through the roof, it acted like a chimney, pulling the fire all the way through,” Dine said. “It was really burning hot and fast. I was a block away at the fire station. I could feel the heat from the fire over there. It was kinda sad because it’s gonna affect other businesses that were in this building too.”

Fire crews say wind made the fire burn more intensely. It spread to neighboring Sports Plus next door. 

Luckily, no one was injured. 

“It is one of the older landmarks and it’s gone,” Dine said. “You can’t copy it; you can’t do anything to make it the way it was and it’s sad. It needed a lot of work to be done to it, but it was savable and now it completely gone.”

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