As I traveled around the Midwest, I quickly learned that a certain sign that a town’s economy is agriculture based (and most small towns in the Midwest fall into this category) was the presence of two things, always in close proximity to each other—train tracks and grain elevators. In these photos, taken in East Lincoln, Illinois (right next to Atlanta, Illinois), the grain elevators are right at the edge of the small “downtown” area. (In fact, one can almost judge the size of the town by the number and height of the grain elevators. This is a very small town.)
The train tracks are immediately behind them. Storage and transportation are the immutable twins of trade. Note that there is also a road, for trucks bringing corn in, with the train for transporting it out just behind it. The pipes stretching out from the towers can dump grain into a train car with astonishing speed.