A resident of the Greater Katy area who requested to stay anonymous has purchased the historic J.V. Cardiff & Sons rice dryer and plans to restore it to preserve the structure and make it accessible to Katy residents. In an email, the owner said they purchased the structure because of its importance to the Katy community and is working closely with the Katy Heritage Society on the project.
According to the Katy Heritage Society, at 177 feet tall, the rice dryer was the tallest in the country when it opened in 1966. At one time, the dryer processed rice for 300 area farmers, who harvested 75,000 acres of rice. The last harvest was processed in 2005.
Adrienne Davitz, president of the Katy Heritage Society, said the nonprofit is thrilled with the potential of the dryer being restored and becoming accessible to the community.
When the dryer was up for sale, many Katy residents were concerned with the dryer falling into the wrong hands, Davitz said, such as someone who wanted to demolish the structure. Thankfully, the buyer quickly shared their plans to restore it, and extreme care and thought are going into each step of the process, Davitz said.
“This has been such an important part of Katy’s history and we are thankful for the huge part the entire Cardiff family has contributed to our city,” Davitz said.
The main goal for now, the owner said, is to begin getting the structure preserved and to stop any deterioration—a task that will take time to complete.
“Pumping water out of the basements, getting the roof and windows sealed to prevent water intrusion, and so on,” the owner said.
Katy City Council Member Chris Harris said in an email that he wishes the new owner success.
“The rice dryers are very important to the Katy community and history of the community,” he said. “I am relieved that the new owner intends to continue the history and is making a significant investment in our town.”
Residents can find pages dedicated to the Cardiff rice dryer restoration project on Facebook or Instagram for updates and a behind-the-scenes look of the restoration process, the owner said.
“We hope to make the city of Katy proud,” the owner said.