Sunday, February 20, 2011

Nice mention

According to SUNY at Buffalo professor Lynda Schneekloth, writing in the 20 January 2011 issue of Artvoice, "the grand volume on the history of the type [is] by William Brown, American Colossus: The Grain Elevator (2009)." Thanks, Lynda!


  1. Hi,

    I've been doing a lot of research on the original Eastern Elevator (1893-1900.) It burned down on the night of July 24th 1900. The Dakota burned down August 13th of the same year.

    I think these photos at the Library of Congress show the area after they both burned down and they were starting reconstruction:

    I checked the weather of that summer and it seems like there were a lot of rainy/humid days in June/July, so maybe there was a moisture problem?

    I have a copy of the Buffalo Evening News' account (7/25/1900) of the Eastern Fire and there is a passage: "...the firemen were required to work in an atmosphere of white heat and were constantly in danger of being struck by greet sheet iron plates which from time to time detached themselves from the sides of the elevator and dropped to the dock and the water below."

    That confused me, because every account has this elevator made of wood. I wonder if the this metal work was from the ducts that transported the grain around the elevator?



  2. The structure itself may have been made of wood, but was wrapped with sheet iron on the outside for fireproofing and explosion containment. Also the marine towers at these elevators were also wrapped in sheet metal. Given the reference to "the dock and the water below," It would appear that one of these two areas were raining down debris.

    PS. The link you provided wouldn't open for me.

  3. Thanks! That explains a lot.

    Sorry, they make it hard to link to these files.

    This is the image I meant:

    I think that might have been taken in late 1900 or early 1901. There definitely seems to be some construction activity. The Sturges elevator was at the end of that peninsula but burned in 1897, then the Eastern (would be on the right) and Dakota (left) both burned in the summer of 1900.

    On your post on the Great Eastern, the third picture you identify as the earlier Eastern:

    I don't think that's correct. I think these two from the LoC are both of the Eastern:

    You can see the name here:

    Also the image in the bottom left of this page:

    It looks like the middle marine tower seems to be the one that moves. I actually came across a law reporter where the Eastern Elevator Co. is being sued for infringing on a patent design for the mechanism.