Drop Bottom Gondola

In the 30s the predominant crop in the Toppenish and surrounding areas was raising sugar beets.  Hay had been king in the past decades but with the advent of the automobile demand for hay diminished.  A local sugar beet possessing plant was built north of the present Hy 21 and the easiest way to get the crops to the plant is with a drop bottom gondola.  The gondola was popular with heavy loads like coal and scrap iron as it had a low center of gravity and was lighter than the hopper car.  It also did not plug up the chute as what would happen with hopper cars as the bottom would drop and the car would empty into a pit.  The pit had a ribbed conveyor belt that conveyed the beets to the storage towers before processing.