Hill of Beans: The Michigan Bean Elevator in Saginaw

Michigan Bean Elevator - Saginaw, Mi

Michigan Bean Elevator – Saginaw, Mi, photo by jhoweaa

I know that many of you have been losing sleep because you don’t know the location of the world’s biggest bean elevator. You can rest easy now, because Waymarking.com explains that the largest bean elevator in the world is in Saginaw MI:

As a young man, (Albert L.) Riedel was one of the organizers of the Producers Elevator Company of Port Huron which later grew into the Michigan Bean Company. He was elected secretary of Michigan Bean when it moved its headquarters to Saginaw’s Bearinger Building and he was only 27 when he was named general manager of the company.

…In 1937, Riedel became president of the company as well as general manager and served in that capacity until the firm was sold to the Wickes Corporation in 1955. As president of Michigan Bean, Al Riedel pushed the idea of selling packaged, trademarked beans to the retail market instead of relying on bulk sales.

He was instrumental in making the Jack Rabbit brand of beans known all over the world. And it was while Riedel was president that the famous Bean Bunny neon sign was erected at the top of “the world’s largest bean elevator”.

The Bean Bunny, now proudly relit, has become one of Saginaw’s most beloved symbols. During World War II, too old for active service, Riedel volunteered as a dollar-a-year-man and served as a consultant attached to the Quartermaster Corp. He revamped purchasing and shipping programs and designed and developed waterproof bags for shipping food overseas.

You can learn a lot more about the Bean Bunny sign and see photos at mLive. The Michigan Bean Commission has tons of information about Michigan beans.

James also has some information about the bean bunny on his blog as well. You can also buy a print or a card there. View his photo on black and see more in his Interesting slideshow.

More from Saginaw on Michigan in Pictures.

3 thoughts on “Hill of Beans: The Michigan Bean Elevator in Saginaw

  1. Al was a member of Big Creek Lodge, a fishing and hunting retreat near Lovells, Michigan. The group has taken an annual fly fishing trip down the AuSable for many, many years. I recall well the trip during his 94th year when I guided him. My grandfather managed a grain elevator in Forest Hill. Our conversation revolved around the industry.

    His recipe for bean soup is still on the menu at the lodge and, more significantly, at the US House of Representatives cafeteria.

    Al and his associates were a unique group of gentlemen. The younger members had a difficult time maintaining their pace during those float trips.

    Rob Woodland


    Keep up the good work.


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