Back roads on the Manitoba prairie     [Jul 26, 2022]

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A Reimer and a reason for the elevators
La Riviere Campground, La Riviere MB

Lee notes that today presented two very different views of Canadian grain elevators. First, we were on the Reimer farm. They bought both elevators at Purves which was located next door to their farm site. The town died, the rail line was torn out and the Reimer family bought the two elevators and surrounding property. It is now their main grain storage area and the elevators are actively in use. They are both over 100 years old; one was a Federal and the other a Manitoba Pool.

Then we drove to Crystal City, where their last elevator was torn down about two weeks ago. We watched as a backhoe loaded the splintered wood into waiting trucks to be hauled away. Another prairie icon is gone. Standing close, you could still smell the pigeon droppings emanating from the pile of wood.

Next, we headed into Manitou and saw the Nellie McClung homes that are part of a museum there.

Many elevators appear to be either new but are wood construction and clad in silver galvanzed steel. The older elevators often are just the old wood, and those are disappearing as the wood has lost it's strength to support itself. Something we learned is that an elevator would sink by six inches when full. Grain is heavy! And those structures are huge. We have captured photos of the old wooden elevators which are disappearing. It is almost like chasing ghosts. We have missed a few within days of them being torn down. Our photos today capture the file of wood that is all that is left of a mighty prairie icon at Crystal City that stood from 1928, built by Manitoba Pool.

It was quite a variety sharing farming life in days of yore. As we stopped to photograph the elevators at what was once Purves, there was a group of farmers having a morning chat. We stopped and introduced ourselves and the stories of times past and current were shared. The history and information about the elevators were share, as Lee reminisced about hauling grain for an old grain farmer north of Regina.

A small United church still stands where Purves used to be, it is no longer safe to wander inside. Windows long gone, it looks like the next strong wind will take it down. One of the gentlement we chatted with who stores his grain in those elevators at Purves was married in that church, and one of the other men was baptized in that church.

Meeting the long-timers there was a highlight of the day.