Tuesday, April 21, 2009

John S. Metcalf

On pages 223-224, I mention John S. Metcalf, a specialist in the design and construction of grain elevators.

Born in Sherbrook, Quebec, in 1847, Metcalf moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1870. While in Indianapolis, he not only designed and built Elevator "A," he also served as this elevator's superintendent until 1881. In 1882, he moved to Chicago, where he partnered with T.K. Webster and James MacDonald. By 1894, he was well-enough known to start his own company, of which there were be offices in Chicago, Illinois, Montreal, Quebec, and Sydney, Australia. He died in 1912.

To Mr. Metcalf may be credited the following grain elevators, some of which were built out of steel (most were built with steel-reinforced concrete):

-- name unknown, Manchester Ship Canal, England, built 1898 (bins made out of wood, not steel, brick, tile or concrete; apparently the first American-style grain elevator to be built on dry land in England; there had been American-style floaters in use there as early as the 1880s);

-- the Grand Trunk (aka Montreal Warehousing Company), Windmill Point, Montreal, built 1900-1903 out of steel;

-- the George T. Evans, Indianapolis, Indiana, built 1901 (made of reinforced concrete, this was a grain storage warehouse, not a functioning elevator);

-- the Canadian Northern Pacific, Port Arthur, Ontario, built 1903;

-- the Southern Pacific, Galveston, Texas; built 1903 out of steel;

-- the Grand Trunk (aka Elevator "B"), Montreal, Quebec, built 1903-1906 out of steel;

-- the Missouri Pacific, Kansas City, Missouri, built 1904 out of reinforced concrete;

-- the Sante Fe, Chicago, Illinois, built 1906 out of reinforced concrete;

-- unnamed elevator, Goderich, Ontario, built 1907 out of steel;

-- the Grand Trunk, Tiffin, Ontario, built 1909 out of reinforced concrete;

-- the Canadian Pacific, Victoria Harbour, Ontario; built 1910 out of reinforced concrete ;

-- Elevator #2, Montreal, Quebec, completed 1912, reinforced concrete;

-- the Burlington, St. Louis, Missouri, date unknown;

-- the Chicago, Burlington & Quincey, East St. Louis, Missouri; date unknown;

-- the Grand Trunk, Portland, Maine; date unknown;

-- the Chesapeake & Ohio, Newport News, Virginia; date unknown.


  1. J.S. Metcalf also designed most of the grain elevators in the Australian state of NSW between 1912 and 1930. His designs can be seem throughout country NSW as well as in the main grain elevator built in Sydney at Glebe Island, which was completed around 1917

  2. In other words, he designed them, died, and they were built after his death?