Clarke Historical Library
Central Michigan University

Finding aid for
Charles W. Lentz Papers

Finding aid created by
Marian Matyn

Summary Information
Title: Papers,
Creator: Lentz, Charles W.
Inclusive dates: 1980, 2008, and undated
Extent: 3 cubic feet (in 2 boxes, 10 Oversized folders)
The collection consists of biographical materials about Lentz, reference materials (copies) about silos, and Lentz's photographs of silos in Michigan.

Call number: MSS.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University
250 East Preston Street
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
Phone: 989-774-3352
Fax: 989-774-2160

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Acc# 68276, 68742, 71393

Access Restrictions:

Charles W. Lentz Papers, 1980, 2008, and undated, are open for research.


Copyright, except for published articles, has been transferred to the Clarke.

Preferred Citation:

Charles W. Lentz Papers, Folder # , Box #, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University


The collection is divided by size into regular size materials which are in alphabetical order by topic, and oversized photographic materials, which are in numerical order.



Charles Wesley Lentz was born in Isabella County, Michigan, on May 6, 1924, the son of Laura Belle (Humphrey) Lentz and James Albert Lentz. Charles grew up in St. Louis, Michigan, and worked on a farm in the summer of his sixteenth year. In 1942 he graduated from St. Louis High School. He earned a B.S. from Michigan State University in 1946.

After working with the Michigan Chemical Corporation and Columbia Southern Chemical Corporation, Lentz joined Dow Corning Corporation’s Research Department in 1955. He has twelve patents and eight publications in the field of silicone elastomer reinforcement, silicate minerals, and Portland cement hydration. In 1965 Lentz received the Scientific Excellence Award from the Midland Branch of Sigma Xi. During his scientific career he was a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the New York Academy of Sciences, and Sigma Xi.

In 1977 Lentz was appointed to the position of Dow Corning’s Director of Health and Environmental Sciences. He served as Chairman of the Scientific Affairs Committee for the Chemical Specialties Manufactures Association, and was appointed to the Administrator’s Toxic Substances Advisory Committee of the Environmental Protection Agency. As Director of Health and Environmental Sciences, Lentz helped organize and served as Chairman of a global silicone producers group for the joint study of the toxicological properties of silicones. He retired from Dow in 1986, but continued to work as a consultant and Chairman of the Global Silicone Producers group until 1992.

Lentz is listed in American Men and Women of Science, 21st Edition, and Who’s Who in Technology Today. His hobbies have included Big Brothers of America and Bullock Creek School District Board of Education, 1970-1978, which he served as President for two years. Since he retired, Lentz has served on the Board of Directors of the Chippewa Nature Center, 1989-1995, serving as president, 1993-1995. He also joined the Midland County Historical Society Board of Manager in 1997 and served as its Chairman.

On June 21, 1947, Mr. Lentz married Elinor Elaine Jessup. Together they had seven children: Stephan, James, Joseph, Anthony, Christopher, Mary, and DeAnne.

Charles W. Lentz currently lives in Midland, Michigan. He is a gifted photographer, author, and speaker. He has documented some rare Michigan silos, as well as a few silos from other states, and has recorded the ingenuity and “can do” attitude of many farmers to create silos with whatever materials were available in the mid-Michigan area. His fine collection of photographs and accompanying notes from interviews and correspondence with farm families, other research materials, and his interesting, published articles and speeches, makes this a very fine collection documenting silos, their construction styles, methods, and materials, as well as their use and declining numbers, particularly those in mid-Michigan. (This information is from the Biography of Charles W. Lentz.)

Collection Scope and Content Note

The collection, compiled and created by Lentz, includes: Biographical Materials by/about Lentz, 1982, 2003, undated; Articles about silos published by Lentz, 1994, 1998, undated; materials relating to his research and photography of silos, such as Correspondence, with photographs and clippings (copies), 1974, 2003, undated; Literature and Research, 1876, 2000 (copies made from 1980 on); Photographs and Negatives of silos, related buildings and farm people photographed by Lentz, 1982, 2001, undated; Slides (copies on CDs) and his accompanying Speech Notes, 1980, 2003; and the contents of a Photograph Album and two Scrapbooks on silos, 1982, 1988, undated. Also included are one oversized black and white Photograph and ten oversized, matted, colored Photographs of interesting silos, undated. A late addition to the collection is Old Farm Silos, June 2008, a CD.

Subject Terms

    • Midland County Historical Society.
    • Lentz, Charles W.
    • Farm buildings--United States--Design and plans.
    • Silos--United States--Design and plans.
    • Silos--Michigan.
    • Silos--Michigan--Midland County.
    • Feeds--Storage.
    • Michigan authors.
    • Photography--Michigan--Midland County.
    • Photographers--Michigan--Midland County.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Charles W. Lentz Papers [series]:
    Box   1 F   1
    Biographical Materials, 1982, 2003, and undated
    Box   1 F   2
    Articles by: "Discovering old farm silos," in Midland Log, Fall 1994
    Box   1 F   3
    Articles by: "Discovering old farm silos," Slide Presentation Fliers, undated
    Box   1 F   4
    Articles by: "In search of old farm silos," in Michigan History Magazine, March-April 1998
    Box   1 F   5
    Farm Silos, Correspondence, Re: Articles Lentz Wrote or Submitted [for Publication], 1988, 1998 (Scattered), and undated
    Box   1 F   6
    Farm Silos, Correspondence, Re: Requests for Research Materials, 1988
    Box   1 F   7
    Farm Silos, Correspondence, Re: Related Materials, Photographs, and Clippings (copies), 1974, 1999 (scattered), and undated
    Box   1 F   8
    Farm Silos, Correspondence, Re: Related Materials, Photographs, and Clippings (copies), 2000-2003
    Box   1 F   9
    Farm Silos, Literature, Research (Mostly Copies), 1980, 2000, and undated
    Box   1 F   10
    Farm Silos, Negatives, undated
    Box   1 F   11
    Farm Silos, Photographs, 1982, 1994
    Box   1 F   12
    Farm Silos, Photographs, undated
    Box   2 F   1
    Farm Silos, Photographs with Negatives, 2001
    Box   2 F   2
    Farm Silos, Slides, 1980, 1993
    Box   2 F   3
    Farm Silos, Slides, 1983, 1993
    Box   2 F   4
    First Silo in Michigan Information, undated
    Box   2 F   5
    Michigan Silos, Speech Notes, 1993, 2003
    Box   2 F   6
    Michigan Silos, Speech Notes (Accompanies Slides), 2003
    Box   2 F   7
    Michigan Silos, Slides (on CDs, black and white, and colored), 2003
    Box   2 F   8
    Old Farm Silos by Charles W. Lentz Scrapbook, undated
    Box   2 F   9
    Photographs and Negatives from Album, 1982, 1988, and undated
    Box   2 F   10
    Some Silos and their History Scrapbook, undated
    Box   2 F   11
    Webster's Dictionary Definition of Silage, undated
    Box   2 F   12
    Old Farm Silos, CD, June 2008
    Folder   1  
    Oversized Photograph measuring 13 inches x 16.5 inches black and white photograph of silos, undated: Poured Concrete Silo with Bell Roof and Flared Eaves, Maker: Built for D. H. Day, Date: Early 1900s, Location: Leelanau County near the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes. This barn has been designated “one of the most significant structures in Michigan” by the Michigan Society of Architects, calling it “the epitome and symbol of what the architecture of a farm stands for.”, early 1900s
    Folder   2  
    Oversized Photograph measuring 12 inches x 16 inches color, matted photographs of silos, undated: Glazed Tile Silo, Location: Eastman Road, on the McKay Farm Site, Midland County. This silo is the only structure remaining on what was known as the McKay Farm, owned by Dr. Kenneth McKay, a veterinarian. Typical in the first half of the 20th Century, veterinarians in agricultural communities often owned and lived on farms. [Note: McKay is spelled two ways in the original description by Lentz for this image.], early 1900s
    Folder   3  
    Oversized Photograph measuring 12 inches x 16 inches color, matted photographs of silos, undated: Harvestone silo, made by the A. O. Smith Co. of Wisconsin, combines the experiences farmers had with earlier silos coupled with modern technology from the industrial world. The glass coated steel panels are safe from corrosion by the acidic juices of silage, and the airtight construction preserves the winter feed. Additionally, the silage is mechanically unloaded from the bottom, eliminated the need to climb into the silo to pitch silage down a chute., undated
    Folder   4  
    Oversized Photograph measuring 12 inches x 16 inches color, matted photographs of silos, undated: Modern concrete silos are, at least, twice as high and twice the diameter of the early silos. Their increased capacity is eight times greater than those that were built during the evolutionary phase of silo building during the first half of this century. Note the presence of a permanent filling tube on these sealed giant cylinders., early 1900s
    Folder   5  
    Oversized Photograph measuring 12 inches x 16 inches color, matted photographs of silos, undated: Silo located south of Traverse City, Michigan, on Highway 113, between Highway 37 and Kingsley., undated
    Folder   6  
    Oversized Photograph measuring 12 inches x 16 inches color, matted photographs of silos, undated: Stark Silo, Midland Township, Michigan., undated
    Folder   7  
    Oversized Photograph measuring 12 inches x 16 inches color, matted photographs of silos, undated: Terra Cotta Tile Silo, Maker: Berne Silo County, Berne, Indiana, Location: Patterson Road, Midland County, Michigan, (Terra Cotta meaning cooked earth, a semi-fired waterproof ceramic clay). , undated
    Folder   8  
    Oversized Photograph measuring 12 inches x 16 inches color, matted photographs of silos, undated: Wood-Stave Silo, Location: Five Mile Road, about three-quarters of Mile North of M-20, Midland County. Philip Stark moved this silo in 1953 from the farm of his childhood to the present location on Five Mile Road. The original location, on the Leonard Stark Farm, was near what is now the intersection of Sugnet and Saginaw roads (see the 1897 Plat Map of Midland County for its original location.) , undated
    Folder   9  
    Oversized Photograph measuring 12 inches x 16 inches color, matted photographs of silos, undated: Metal Silo, Location: M-115, south of Lake Cadillac. Metal silos could be purchased as kits and assembled by the farmer. The metal had to be coated on the inside to prevent corrosion by acids from the silage and kept painted on the outside to prevent rusting., undated
    Folder   10  
    Oversized Photograph measuring 12 inches x 16 inches color, matted photographs of silos, undated: Rectangular Wood Silo, Maker: Probably a local carpenter, Location: Genesee County; on Cummings Road, south of Davison Road. Although rectangular structures were easy to build, they were not satisfactory as silos because the coarse silage did not fill the corners. Consequently, silage in these areas became moldy and unpalatable., undated