A 28,000-bushel grain elevator at Rossendale, 18 miles southwest of Portage la Prairie, was built in 1916 by the Grain Growers’ Grain Company, predecessor of United Grain Growers. Over the years, two annexes were built to increase its capacity, a 25,000-bushel balloon annex in 1951 (demolished around 1970) and a 30,000-bushel crib annex in 1954. Closed in 1975, the elevator was demolished three years later while the crib annex was moved to the Baker Hutterite Colony. Along the way, the annex had to be hauled up a 70-foot hill under muddy conditions. This photo was one of several taken by Eddie Maendel, now living at the Airport Hutterite Colony, who helped with the move. The annex is still in use.
A 138,000-bushel wooden grain elevator on the CNR main line west of Elie was built by Manitoba Pool in 1986 to replace a smaller facility in town. It had a markedly different appearance from the elevators of old. Its equipment for distributing grain into bins were fully exposed on top and it was a modern composite that combined an elevator and annex into a single crib. Closed between 2001 and 2002, it was sold to a consortium of local farmers in 2004, who still use it for local storage.
Photo: Gordon Goldsborough
There were once two wooden grain elevators at Menzie, a community along Highway No. 45 east of Oakburn. A 35,000-bushel elevator was built in 1913 by the British America Elevator Company, which in 1940 merged with three other companies to become National Grain. A 27,000-bushel elevator was built in 1918 by a group of 38 local farmers, each of whom contributed $100, operating as the Ruthenian Farmers Elevator Company. In 1931, it was taken over by Federal Grain then sold to National in 1950. The two elevators were operated separately until 1955 when they were licensed as a single 49,000-bushel facility. Closed in 1973, the elevators were demolished in 1981.
Photo: Julie Harris
In the 1950s, there were over 700 grain elevators in Manitoba. Today, there are fewer than 200. You can help to preserve the legacy of these disappearing “Prairie sentinels.”
The Manitoba Historical Society (MHS) is gathering information about all elevators that ever stood in Manitoba, regardless of their present status. Collaborating with the Manitoba Co-operator it is supplying these images of a grain elevator each week in hopes readers will be able to tell the society more about it, or any other elevator they know of.
MHS Gordon Goldsborough webmaster and Journal editor has developed a website to post your replies to a series of questions about elevators. The MHS is interested in all grain elevators that have served the farm community.
Your contributions will help gather historical information such as present status of elevators, names of companies, owners and agents, rail lines, year elevators were built — and dates when they were torn down (if applicable).
There is room on the website to post personal recollections and stories related to grain elevators. The MHS presently also has only a partial list of all elevators that have been demolished. You can help by updating that list if you know of one not included on that list.
Your contributions are greatly appreciated and will help the MHS develop a comprehensive, searchable database to preserve the farm community’s collective knowledge of what was once a vast network of grain elevators across Manitoba.