PRAIRIE GRAIN ELEVATORS

PRAIRIE GRAIN ELEVATORS

By George Siamandas

The first grain elevator was built in Buffalo in 1841. Over time grain elevators have become the architectural icon of the prairies. The first were known as flat warehouses. Looking like normal buildings with gable roofs they soon gave way to the tall wooden sentinels that dot the Canadian prairie.

They were typically 20x40x8 feet. Only one such elevator remains in Brookdale Manitoba. The classic grain elevators began to be built in the 1880s. They were built to the CPR’s standard plan. 50 or 60 feet high and powered by a steam or diesel engine.

FIRST GRAIN ELEVATOR
Western Canada’s first and Manitoba’s first grain elevator was built by a railway siding near Niverville Manitoba in 1878. What was unusual was that it was round and it would be the only one of its kind. It had been built by Mennonites settlers that had come four years earlier. It operated until 1904 with horse power and could hold 25,000 bushels.

MANITOBA ELEVATOR COMMISSION
Grain Farmers convinced the Manitoba government of Premier Roblin to build a series of government owned elevators

THE 1900 MANITOBA GRAIN ACT
Responding to farmer’s concerns that they were not being treated fairly by the grain companies and their elevator, the grain Act sought to establish rules and regulations on how farmer’s and their grain were marketed. Grain Exchange was called the House of Closed Shutters.

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