The Prairie Grain Elevator

As you know, I have chosen the prairie grain elevator to signify the Signs ‘n Such Centennial Club.

Not only does this building represent rural Saskatchewan from days gone by, it also brings back a lot of memories for me personally.

I grew up on a grain farm near the small Saskatchewan community of Simmie.  Like all towns, the grain elevator was a hub of activity.  I remember going with my Dad when he hauled wheat, to sell.  He would drive into the building, on the scale, and have the truck weighed.  Then the hoist would be lifted, the grain dumped into the bin below floor level, and the truck re-weighed.  “Make sure if you are in the truck when it is first weighed, that you stay in it when it is weighed again”, he would gently remind me.  The elevator agent would then calculate how much wheat was in the truck, and fill out the “ticket”.This process, when after a quota was opened, was almost treated like a social event.  There would quite often be a line up of grain trucks, waiting at the elevators.  The farmers would bring a thermos of coffee, the kids might bring along a glove and softball, in order to play catch with other children.

Many Saskatchewan communities will be celebrating centennials within the next few years.  For the most part, these communities came into being because of the railway coming through.  With the railway came homes, businesses, and, of course, the grain elevator.  The grain companies would purchase a house, and bring in “the elevator agent”.  This person, and their family, would quickly become a part of the community.  It was always a bit sad when they were transferred to another town, but exciting, at the same time, to see who would arrive next.  It provided an opportunity to make new friends.

For the most part, elevators have been closed and torn down.  The railway tracks have also been removed.  Many rural towns and villages have been able to preserve a part of this type of history through grants available through the Sask Heritage Foundation, and the Community Initiatives Fund.

Still on the topic of elevators, and rural Saskatchewan, many thanks to my friend Karen for sending me this link about Small Town Saskatchewan.


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