SEARLE GRAIN COMPANY GRAIN ELEVATOR SITE COMPLEX
Searle Grain Co.
Rowley Grain Elevators
Searle Grain Elevator
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Searle Grain Company Grain Elevator Site Complex is part of a row of grain elevators and auxiliary buildings in the hamlet of Rowley and includes a grain elevator, office/engine house, and fuel shed. The grain elevator features a thick, windowless shaft crowned by a cupola, the office features exterior sheet metal cladding, and the fuel shed is a simple structure with horizontal wood siding. This site complex sits adjacent to two other grain elevators and auxiliary structures that are not included in this designation.
The heritage value of the Searle Grain Company Grain Elevator Site Complex lies in its association with the development of grain-handling and shipping facilities in the province, its high degree of integrity as an example of a typical period grain elevator complex, and its landmark value.
In 1909, Alberta Premier Alexander Rutherford offered railway companies bond guarantees to expand the province's transportation network in order to further settlement and development. In 1911, the Alberta Midland Railway Company completed work on a track from Vegreville to Calgary, passing through Drumheller. Several stations were constructed along the line, including one roughly 25 kilometres north of Drumheller. The townsite of Rowley was subdivided at this site and a community developed providing services for the mixed farming operations in the area. Several grain elevators were erected in Rowley during the First World War - an agricultural boom-time of large yields and high prices. The Searle Grain Company grain elevator was constructed in 1923 to compete with the National Grain Company and United Grain Growers elevators already present. The Searle Grain Company elevator was acquired by the Federal Grain Ltd. in 1967 before it was purchased by the Alberta Wheat Pool in 1972. With the discontinuation of rail services between Rowley and Morrin in 1989, the elevator closed down.
The Searle Grain Company Grain Elevator Site Complex is an early example of the "standard tall" plan of grain elevator with auxiliary buildings. The elevator is modelled on the standard square plan devised by the United Grain Growers in 1917 and features traditional crib design with a grain storage and handling capacity of 40,000 bushels. The structure is the oldest extant example of a grain elevator built by the Searle Grain Company still standing in Alberta and has retained many of its original elements, including the conveyor belt and cups, man-lift with rope pulley system, gerber wheel, hopper scale, and truck scale. The auxiliary buildings, including an office and small fuel shed, are representative of grain elevator site complex structures of the period.
The Searle Grain Company Grain Elevator Site Complex's rich historical connections and striking visual presence has made it a significant landmark in Rowley and a striking reminder of the province's agricultural past. This site is closely associated with the neighbouring United Grain Growers - Alberta Wheat Pool Grain Elevator Site Complex; together they form one of the finest extant elevator rows in the province.
Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 2119)
The character-defining elements of the Searle Grain Company Grain Elevator Site Complex include such features as:
- thick, wooden, windowless shaft crowned by gable roofed cupola;
- crib construction;
- wood plank construction drive shed with south end access doors;
- original design elements, fixtures, and machinery, including the conveyor belt and cups, man-lift with rope pulley system, gerber wheel, hopper scale, and truck scale.
- Searle company logo visible on east, west and south elevations
- exterior sheet metal cladding;
- original windows and doors;
- gasoline powered engine;
- one interior wall clad with original metal siding.
- location roughly 20 feet from grain elevator;
- horizontal wood siding.
- visual and spatial relationships between site and rail right-of-way and adjacent approach road, between the site and the United Grain Growers - Alberta Wheat Pool Grain Elevator Site Complex Provincial Historic Resource, and between the site and the hamlet's nearby main street;
- walkway to elevator grain weighing office;
- vestiges of rail bed.
Province of Alberta
Historical Resources Act
Provincial Historic Resource
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
- Developing Economies
- Extraction and Production
Function - Category and Type
- Food Supply
- Grain Elevator
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 2119)
Cross-Reference to Collection