Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Wheeler Elevator (aka Agway/GLF)

Now I'll turn to grain elevators that haven't been demolished, but may no longer be accessible to photographers. It seems fitting to begin with the Wheeler Elevator (built of out of reinforced concrete in 1909), which lies at the heart of the completely abandoned complex formerly owned and operated by Agway/GLF, because back in 1992 -- when Orrin Pavan and I snuck into the place and wondered around it for almost three hours before someone discovered our intrusion and asked us who we were -- we were told, "It's a good thing you're leaving, because if our guard dog gotta hold of you, you'd be in trouble right now." Or something like that.

In the photograph above (not taken by Orrin), the original 1909 bins plus the original marine tower (thus one of the oldest marine towers in Buffalo) appear -- if the whole complex can be likened to a baseball diamond -- at "home plate." At "first base" we see the flour mill (and more concrete grain bins that lead back from the tower) that were designed by AE Baxter and constructed by James Stewart in 1936. And at the "second" and "third bases," we see the huge annex designed by AE Baxter and constructed by Hydro in 1942.

Orrin's picture (above) finds us inside the marine tower, where we see parts of the machine's wood-and-rope drive system.

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