A small wooden grain elevator in the village of Underhill, in what is now the Municipality of Grassland, was built in 1908 by the Underhill Farmers’ Elevator Company. One of three elevators operating here by 1917, its ownership was transferred to the provincial government in 1911, then leased and in 1926 purchased outright by United Grain Growers. In 1966, it was sold into private ownership. Graffiti on its side said “Burn Me Please.” It appears someone obliged and the elevator was gone by the mid-1990s.
A grain elevator at Harmsworth, on the CP Rocanville Subdivision in the Rural Municipality of Wallace, was built by W. W. King for the Lake of the Woods Milling Company of Winnipeg in 1910. It was sold to Manitoba Pool Elevators in 1960 and operated by the McAuley Pool Association until it was sold to private interests in 1963. It appears to have stood abandoned for a number of years.
A grain elevator at the railway siding of Bryd, along Highway 16 in the Rural Municipality of Yellowhead, was constructed in 1914 by Smith Murphy. It was purchased by the Paterson Grain Company in 1926 and an annex was constructed in 1956. The elevator operated into the early 1990s when a provincial government report said there were “no plans to close it in the foreseeable future.” However, it closed in the fall of 1994, and the building was pushed over and burned in February 1996.
A grain elevator in Winnipegosis, on the now-abandoned Winnipegosis line of the Canadian National Railway, has a capacity of 85,000 bushels. Once operated by the National Grain Company, the elevator now appears to be unused.
Photo: Manitoba Historic Resources Branch (1992)
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.