Description of Historic Place
The Inglis Grain Elevator Row, a collection of five wooden country elevators built in 1920-25 and 1941, forms a continuous line alongside a railway spur that runs south from Inglis, a mixed farming community in west-central Manitoba. The provincial designation applies to the five elevators, four agents' offices, annexes, outbuildings and the large parcel of land they occupy, which together now forms a museum complex.
The Inglis Grain Elevator Row is Canada's best and Manitoba's only surviving collection of early twentieth-century grain storage and shipping facilities competitively aligned side-by-side at a rural railway loading point. This site is especially valued for the largely unaltered layout of its various components and for the intact architectural, construction and mechanical features of its five primary elevators. A distinctive and once common building in many prairie communities, the country elevator, with its sharp vertical profile, sturdy wood-cribbed construction and specialized grain handling equipment, came to symbolize the rapid settlement and expansion of agricultural production in Western Canada in the early 1900s. The Inglis elevators are excellent tall- and medium-sized examples of the standardized structures built across the region according to design specifications adopted in 1913. The five also represent the range of ownership interests involved in the elevator network: producer co-operatives (United Grain Growers Ltd.), family enterprises (N.M. Paterson and Co.) and Canadian- and American-backed corporations (latterly known as the Reliance Grain Co. Ltd. and National Grain Co.). Resisting the threat of closure and forces of consolidation that eliminated hundreds of traditional prairie elevators since the 1960s, the Inglis site, which served a prime grain-growing region, remained an active shipping point used by Paterson and United Grain Growers until 1995.
Source: Manitoba Heritage Council Minute, June 6, 1998
Key heritage elements that define the site character of the Inglis Grain Elevator Row include:
- the placement of the complex within a long rectangular-shaped site, accessed by a service road east of Railway Avenue in Inglis
- the structured organization of the complex, with the elevators placed in a row on the west side of the railway track and ancillary structures located to the sides or otherwise back (west) from the track frontage
Key elements that define the elevators' standard design and appearance include:
- the uniformity of their monitor-roof designs, including their characteristic volumes, heights (20 to 25 metres) and tiered shapes (large bases with truncated, slope-shouldered gable roofs topped by smaller, narrower sections, also gable-roofed)
- the elevators' main components, including their vertical storage structures and adjoining drive-through receiving sheds with both gable- and shed-roofed sections
- their impressive storage capacity, each elevator containing 16 to 20 storage bins
- the minimal fenestration, with a few small rectangular-shaped sash and fixed windows in the elevators' upper sections and drive-throughs
- other details and finishes, such as the metal vents or stacks on the roof ridges, the observation platforms on the track-side walls, etc.
Key elements that define the elevators' sturdy construction include:
- the honest expression of materials, including the main storage structures' `stacked' or `cribbed' construction from dimensional lumber, with overlapping ends spiked together horizontally; the solid timber lintels above the crib walls; and the bottom-sloped bins, braced at regular intervals by steel rods; and the overhead beams
- the receiving sheds' conventional wood-frame construction, sliding wood doors and large exposed interior posts, plank flooring, numerous 'NO SMOKING' signs, etc.
- other materials and details such as the concrete foundations, painted shiplap wood siding and cedar shingles
Key elements that define the elevators' specialized grain handling equipment include:
- the intact mechanical equipment, including the `leg', an endless cup conveyor system designed for the handling of grain from ground level to the top of each elevator with a distributor spout that directs grain into various storage bins and chutes, the front access hatch and distributor wheel on the leg's wood framework
- other features such as the shipping alley steel grain spouts, hopper scales, a bin blackboard, the wooden man-lift, the gravity-fed metal out-spouts, etc.
- in the ceiling of the Paterson elevator drive-through the dust collection system and grain-cleaning equipment; and in the northeast corner of the smallest Reliance elevator the `car puller', a cement block with an engine on it
Key elements that define the heritage character of the various ancillary structures include:
- the office/engine sheds, including, in the lower portion of the Reliance building, a vintage one-cylinder Ruston-Hornsby diesel engine
- the `catwalks' or walkways that join the office/engine shed to each elevator
- the huge vertical `cribbed' and balloon-frame annexes, as well as the round metal annex south of the two Reliance elevators
- other outbuildings, including the chemical shed beside the National elevator
Key corporate symbols of the elevators include:
- the corporate names painted on the elevators' exterior west sides and, on the National and Paterson elevators, the companies' corporate logos