Better Days

This week’s blog includes more photos of the grain elevators in Mossleigh, Alberta, southeast of Calgary.  These elevators, and the railroad tracks that run beside them, have definitely seen better days.  Pigeons come and go from the openings in the upper reaches of the elevators, lichen grows where the paint has chipped off, and most of the latches have been ripped off the doorframes leaving the padlocks dangling uselessly.

In the early part of the 1900’s, grain elevators were constructed on land leased from the railroad companies every eight to ten miles, a day’s travel for a farmer using a horse and wagon.   Rows of brightly coloured elevators became cultural landmarks, a symbol of greatness for the productive prairies.

By 1934, the number of grain elevators in Alberta peaked at 1755.  An inventory taken in 2005 for Alberta Community Development found that only 180 remained.  12 of these have been placed on the Alberta Register of Historic Places (none of the Mossleigh elevators have received this designation to date).

I tried to find out how many elevators my homeown had but came up empty.  If memory serves me correctly, there were 8, definitely an indication of the productive prairies in that area.  Sadly, all of them have been demolished.


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