Thursday, October 26, 2006

Memories of times past on the prairies

The wooden grain elevators that served farmers on the prairies are fast disappearing. Before they're all torn down a photo memory is all we can hope for. We have collected photos from 110 towns and villages and cities in Saskatchewan.
Memories are a wonderful thing, and hopefully these photos and the comments will trigger some for you, too.
What do the wooden grain elevators mean for you?
For me, I see a towering landmark that let's me know well before I arrive that I'm approaching a certain village or town. The flatness of the prairies makes it difficult to see what's ahead unless something stands out. Sometimes it's a water tower, or especially large groves of trees, but the constant "marker" has been the grain elevators with the name of the place printed on it in bold letters. As these elevators are being torn down and replaced with concrete monoliths, the landscape just isn't the same. This may sound nostalgic, but that's the way I see it. I know, a way of life is going, but at what price? Small centres are dwindling away, and farmers have to hire or purchase huge grain trucks to haul the grain to the nearest "inland grain terminal", as they're now called. The smaller communities are now forced to extend themselves out of their natural surroundings and, as a result, become isolated, having lost their common element--the grain elevator.
Taking photographs of these prairie icons is my attempt to keep history alive, to stave off the inevitable, to solidify our fading memories.
Are there others out there who feel the same? Your comments are welcome.

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