For 19 years, the Menaik grain elevator loomed large on a Ponoka farmer’s property, but now it is set to be torn down like so many other elevators that once dotted the prairie landscape.
Bernard Lentz retired from farming in 1997, when he sold his farm and moved in to Ponoka. But in 1978 he saved the old Menaik elevator, when he moved it onto his farm land.
With a chuckle he said everybody asks him how he feels about his old grain elevator being torn down.
“While I am disappointed, elevators are a dinosaur because there are none left,” said Lentz. “They had their time and all of a sudden they built the terminals and the elevators were disposed of.
“That’s the way it is. They (elevators) served their purpose.”
Lentz’ old grain elevator isn’t the only one set for destruction. The Mintlaw elevator, that once served more than 10,000 head of cattle between Red Deer and Blackfalds, has fallen into disrepair and plans are in motion to tear it down.
Red Bloomfield operates Heavenly Dexter Ranch, which doesn’t rely on grain fed cattle, instead they are grass-fed.
“I don’t have a use for it anymore,” said Bloomfield, adding it used to be where grain was mixed up for three different feedlots.
“I never used it myself, it was here when we bought the place and we’re not that big an operation.”
The former Mintlaw elevator is starting to deteriorate as well, which was a contributing reason for the decision to knock it over.
Bloomfield said he doesn’t expect it to come down for at least a year.
“It was either tear it down or restore it,” said Bloomfield. “It would take quite a bit to restore it. It needs siding more than anything.”
At its peak, the Menaik elevator held 30,000 bushels of grain. When Lentz sold it, he told the buyer the old shingle roof was getting bad and starting to leak. He was about to put a tin roof on it to maintain it.
“I didn’t want to sell, but my wife and I figured we did enough of this,” said Lentz.
Lentz remembered with fondness the elevator that towered over his farm.
“It’s too bad, because that elevator became kind of part of me,” said Lentz. “I worked for five or six months getting it ready to move to our farm and set it up. I did a lot of work on it. Everything you do in your life that you do and you use it and you work with it, it becomes a part of you.
“It was a source of pride for me to run my own elevator.”