Ames Historical Society is celebrating the opening of an exhibit of grain elevator photos Thursday, Aug. 16, from 4 to 6 p.m.

“Cathedrals of the Plains: A Photo Series of Midwest Grain Elevators” will be on display at the Ames History Center, 416 Douglas Ave. from Aug. 17 through Sept. 22.

This exhibit features photography by Judith Eastburn along with the story of the Ames elevator, the Froning & Deppe Elevator, which was located at 213 Duff until it was destroyed in a controlled burn in the fall of 1979.

During the exhibit opening on Aug. 16, patrons will enjoy light refreshments and will have the opportunity to speak with Eastburn, the artist, and Bob Deppe, the owner of the Froning & Deppe grain elevator.

Eastburn holds an MFA in photography from the University of Iowa. She has taught photography courses at levels ranging from children to university students for the past 20 years. Her work has appeared in 24 juried shows, and she has presented eight one-person shows.

The Froning & Deppe grain elevator and its predecessors were a feature of the downtown Ames skyline for 100 years, from the late-1870s until 1979.

The Historical Society offers the following description of the burning of the grain elevator: “The Froning and Deppe Elevator … was burned as a three-day fire training exercise. During the first day, a low storage shed was used for practice as it was ignited and extinguished several times. The second day the tall north bin was burned, and on Sunday, the old cob shed to the south finished the controlled burns.

“For insurance reasons, elevator owner Bob Deppe was invited to light the first fire. ISU fire extension personnel coordinated the burn using men and equipment from the Ames Fire Department. The dramatic blaze on Sunday produced a smoke plume tall enough to spark calls from concerned Marshalltown citizens. This event ended a century of grain storage in downtown Ames.”

The Ames History Center’s regular hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The History Center and this event are free and open to the public.