The Cargill Pool Grain Elevator sits quietly on the shores of Lake Erie in Buffalo, New York.
Grain elevators reached their peak in Buffalo in the 1920’s, but with the opening of the Welland Canal in Ontario and eventually the St Lawrence Seaway in 1958, there was no longer a need for grain boats to stop in Buffalo to load or unload grain. Buffalo was cut off from the shipping chain. Around this time, Buffalo also suffered another setback with the decline of the animal feed industry due to decentralization.
“Although a shadow of its former self, the grain industry is still hanging on to a slight degree. Cereal is still manufactured in the elevators and plants owned by General Mills, and flour is still produced in several of the elevators that are dedicated to milling rather than transshipment. But like many of the industries that once thrived in Buffalo, the grain elevators remain as a testament to an industry that once flourished — and then moved on into history. The same can be said for the other industries associated with grain trade — the Erie Canal and the railroads. Victims of changing times.”