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Prairie Giants

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  • Prairie Giants

    I modeled these grain elevators from photos of the real thing which I took on our last trip out west. N scale and made out of my favourite material. They will be located at the prairie town of Harris on my layout. Harris is a real town in Saskatchewan.


    Robin

    NARA founding member

  • #2
    They look good , and are representative of the presence of three or occassionally four elevator coops/dealers found in the Canadian prairies until recently, at every town with a railroad.

    Now they are vanishing into mergers from provincially sponsored grain marketting boards and combinations of dealers that tends to create very large elevators in a few places. The coops and remaining dealers also build very large elevators at a few points, and tear down the old giants that stood for so long to save on taxes,liability insurance costs , etc.

    This is also happening in Dakotas and other grainbelt U.S. and Argentinian states. Overnight destroying a grain elevator complex in a small town can kill the community. Elevators and their associated farm supply store were the focus of trade, and when no farmer has to come there the local insurance man, druggist,diner,ATF machine/bank, hardware store, and even churches often are abandoned to create a ghost town.

    The few places with a thousand people that snare the big elevators, will see population growth, and business prosperity. This attracts a Canadian Tire, Walmart, supermarkets, chain drug stores , multiple banks, fast fooders, some cooperative chain hardware store, lumber/building supply store, and all the rest - that will grow this town to 3,000-5,000 souls in twenty years. If they can get some manufacturing plants, or agricultural processing industries, and telecommunications based business(es) and similar, you are looking at a small city.

    The other side of that coin is a vast serviceless hinterland marked with mouldering small towns, abandoned railroad and road rights of way, and few resident humans. It will be like the Australian Outback , in terms of population densities, and with the growth in electronic communications, students will be home schooled on government provided electronic equipment and uplinks to classrooms. Much will have to change with respect to construction standards (if there is no fire department within reach -you build fireproof dwellings if you expect to get construction loans , mortgages, and fire insurance), and the nature of policing and the citizen's linkage to it will have to change.

    A whole new world , unlike anything known before to offset the impending isolation of growers and the few resident technicians they will need , to maintain their farms and acceptable lifestyles , is descending right now upon the North American and South American plains. The Australians have something to tell them, as they are virtually the only people that have a recent history of successfully coping with this world. Although the sheep stations , and ranches everywhere , have tended to have had more hands around than the wheat, bean , sunflower, flax , barley, milo , rape, rye, and oat growing farmsteads will have; - the experiences are worthwhile learning from.

    Good models of a vanishing and wonderful time on the prairies.

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    • #3
      What you say is so true pjb. I am only aware of the Canadian prairies where I used to live. Part of the blame was due to farmers. In the old days, horse drawn wagons was the way to get the grain to the nearest town where the grain elevator stood. Train time on a Saturday evening drew folks from the area as the train brought goods as well as loading the grain. As trucks replaced horses many farmers preferred to drive to a larger town as after delivering the grain, they could visit the local tavern for an evening of drinking. This lead to the demise of the small town grain elevators because they were no longer needed. This lead the railroad to cut service to many small towns and now the only sign of there once growing community is weed covered foundations. Where once a farmer could live from the crops from a 1/4 section, todays farmer needs a section or two to survive. Not easy for them these days with droughts and expensive machinery.
      Robin

      NARA founding member

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