Explore Buffalo’s Tour of Silo City

When my friend Ron Brajer told me that there’s an outfit called Explore Buffalo that provides tours of abandoned grain elevators in Buffalo, I was all-in. Yesterday, we went on that excursion. Here are some photos from our guided exploration of Silo City.

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7 Comments

  1. Very cool. Is all that property sitting there, not being used? Why don’t the tear down the elevators after they are abandoned?

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    1. Well, the story is a bit more complicated than that. The owner purchased the properties (reportedly paid $140,000 for all of the lands and 4 elevators) with the intention of producing ethanol on the site, back when it seemed like there might be a market for it. Before he could build the plant, the whole ethanol thing fell flat. He sold one of the three elevators to a commodities speculator who buys grains when they’re cheap and stores them until the value goes up. The other three elevators and the grounds around them are being used for art exhibits, live music performances, poetry readings, and the like. Apparently it can be booked for any sort of event, and there have been weddings there. I think it’s a clever repurposing of a brownfield property, and knocking the buildings down (like most of the other elevators in Buffalo) would obliterate a valuable historic artefact. I think the owner has it right. The site is surrounded by vacant land, once occupied by elevators. To knock these down would be expensive, and would create more of what’s already available in abundance.

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  2. Fascinating. What is the sheet metal structure that is resting on what appears to a set of wheels (7th pic from top)?

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    1. That’s called a Ship Arm or something like that. It has a vertical conveyor that the drops into a ships hold to lift the grain to the top of the elevator. It’s on rails and can be moved along the dock to line up with the ship’s openings.

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  3. Not a bad idea, Hunter. Barry would love the US theme and he and I have been discussing a project layout for 2017. Let’s talk about it next time we get together.

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