Saturday, September 7, 2013

Another Prairie Giant Bites the Dust: Marquette, Manitoba

The Paterson elevator in Marquette in better days.

At one time, there were over 5,700 wooden elevators in Canada's prairie provinces. Called prairie giants or sentinels on the prairies, they handled the grain that helped make Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta a bread basket for the world.

The classic old elevators have mostly been replaced by modern concrete throughput elevators--giant facilities that can handle large strings of hopper cars and hold many more bushels of grain. Today there are only about 850 of the classic wooden elevators left.

A classic Prairie Giant.

Take one more off that list; on September 4, 2013 the Paterson grain elevator at Marquette, Manitoba was torn down.

When Canadian Railway Modeller editor Morgan Turney heard it was to be demolished, he drove to Marquette, located at mile 27.1 on the CPR's Carberry Subdisivion, to take some photos.

Upon arrival, he asked a worker when it was to come down. "In about ten minutes," he was told. The photos below record what happened next.

Going . . .

Going . . .

Going . . . 


Click here to see a National Film Board of Canada documentary about the day in the life of a prairie grain elevator. Click here to read about how I scratchbuilt my own prairie giant for the M & M Sub.

Click here to visit the website of the Inglis, Man. Grain Elevators National Historic Site and to learn more about the prairie giants. Photos of grain elevators across the prairies and B.C. can be found at Grain, a collection of almost 13,000 photos.

Top two photos also taken by Morgan Turney; top photo taken Feb 6, 2010 of CP SD40-2 5978 passing the Marquette elevator; second photo taken June 9, 2009.


  1. So sad to see another wooden grain elevator demolished..I know in Alberta they had up to 3000 wooden grain elevators in its prime, but the number now is around 300...

    I and an friend are trying to save an 88 year old Ogilvie Flour grain elevator in Southern Alberta...

  2. Another one bites the dust, John. I was fortunate to visit Marquette and Meadows elevators in 1984. I took a couple of photos, posted here:

    Great photos!

  3. Morgan took some great photos! I'm sorry to hear of this great elevator coming down. I'm glad I did get photos of it in 2012.

  4. I was born in Marquette and lived there, crossing the CP line to go to our one room school, until grade 3. I think the water tower number was 1634...out of a total of 3260...making in about the middle.

    Live in Montrèal now but still document the rail road.

  5. Cal Bailey (Anoymous above)

    Just remembered that the elevator had a green, hand start, single horizontal cylinder Lister model 'D' lift engine with outside flywheel, pushrods and cam gear

  6. I used to live in Marquette, and recently drove through the town. I was shocked to see the elevator gone! The town no longer has a landmark, and no longer looks like a town... it's very sad... :( PS. I also took pictures of the Marquette elevator this summer, and I'm so glad I did...