Demolition on the historic Ogden Federal Grain Elevator has begun. Calgary Herald article by Jen Gerson at the below link:
http://www.calgaryherald.com/Landmark+e ... story.html
Landmark Elevator Coming Down: Ogden Grain Facility Nearly a Century Old
"Once hailed by a master of architecture, the slow demolition of the Ogden Federal Elevator has begun.
Built in 1915, the stark, hulking edifice was once featured in famed architect Le Corbusier's Vers Une Architecture next to the Parthenon; a symbol in concrete of the noble, functional prairie. Now it sits in a traffic black spot, sandwiched by a sewage treatment plant and the producers of asphalt shingles.
Located in the southeast of the city and within sight of Deerfoot Trail, the building is nearing its end. About a fifth of the structure has been razed.
Lamenting the loss of the historical monument, which was once a city landmark, the Calgary Heritage Authority has taken pains to photograph its inner silos.
"Ideally, we hate to see it torn down, but without any practical adaptive use for the building, it's hard for us to advocate for it to be saved," said Scott Jolliffe, the authority's chairman.
Like thousands of other grain elevators across the province, the Ogden terminal was sacrificed to more efficient modern counterparts. The painted wooden elevators that were once the focal points of dotted rural towns have been made obsolete by high-throughput elevators. While the iconic old lifts could fill a grain train at the rate of four to eight cars per day, the faster versions can stuff 110 cars in the same span.
And while the elevators have a simple, clean look from the outside; inside they're windowless silos filled with dust, bins and vermin.
"We forget that there were 6,000 elevators on the prairies at one time and now we're down to 500 and still falling," Jolliffe said. "They're worth saving as symbols, but as a building, to reuse they're very challenging."
Some cities have managed to salvage their elevators; Akron, Ohio, turned theirs into a hotel and a silo in Montreal still stands. Several years ago, the town of Nanton banded together to save its red, triangle-topped elevator. They turned it into a museum.
However, the location and condition of Calgary's monument make preservation difficult. Planted in the middle of an industrial sector, it's too far out of the downtown to be considered as a hotel, meeting space, library or museum.
"How do you use 56 concrete silos, basically?" asked Jolliffe. "They have no windows in them. They're very difficult to reuse for anything without spending millions and millions of dollars retrofitting."
In addition, Le Corbusier's judgment notwithstanding, finding the elevator's outer beauty is no easy task.
"It's pretty to someone who's interested in industrial architecture," Jolliffe said. "I'd agree that does not include many people."
Even though it has been standing for almost a century, the Ogden elevator still impresses onlookers with its stature.
"This was built in the horse and buggy days, and when you see the scale of it, the size of it, the volume of materials. The amount of work that went into it is hard to believe."
The authority's photographs will be kept on record with the city's heritage planning group."