Another Legacy Comes to an End in Langenburg

·3 min read

Our prairie landscape is always changing, but the one thing that identifies itself to travellers and locals has always been the grain elevators. Elevators used to be in almost every town and were a sight travellers looked forward to seeing on the horizon. The iconic sight signified the next town was coming and acted as a landmark.

Most of the grain elevators that once stood around the province are now gone, likewise, Langenburg’s last remaining elevator is scheduled to be decommissioned and destroyed in the next couple of weeks.

The grain elevator owned by Richardson Pioneer has already turned the power off to the structure during the week of October 22, 2020, in preparation for it being demolished. When it tumbles to the ground, that old familiar sight of an elevator outside of Langenburg will be gone.

This brings the end to an era in the Langenburg area of ‘coffee with the grain agent to discuss local farming’, seeing an elevator outside Langenburg and small-time farmers driving to the elevator in their light grain truck, just to mention a few.

Richardson Pioneer provided a statement about the elevator coming down. The company commented, “Richardson Pioneer is committed to continued investment in the Langenburg site and over the years, has made numerous upgrades to meet the evolving needs of the marketplace, including adding VIS blending capabilities, increased storage, and enhanced services. The second elevator at the site is slated to be taken down over the fall, however, Richardson Pioneer will continue to source grain from this location and offer the quality products and services to which our customers are accustomed. Through the Richardson Foundation, Richardson Pioneer has contributed to meaningful local projects and initiatives in Langenburg and the surrounding areas and will continue to do so in the future. As a long-term member of the community, Richardson looks for opportunities to invest in the places our employees and customers call home.”

Having the privilege of delivering the first and last load to the elevator is an honour for any farmer that stopped in Langenburg. DH Werle Farms had that honour when Kirby Werle, along with Mike Moore (who works for DH Werle Farms as well as was a former Manager at the Langenburg Elevator), opened the belly dump door of their grain truck to drop their final load of grain off.

Kirby Werle chuckled about how the opportunity came about to be a part of the last grain load delivery. He mentioned, “I had joked around with the present manager of the elevator that it’s a big thing when these elevators open, can we make it a big thing when it gets shut down?”

Shortly after, the manager called Werle and asked if he would deliver the last load; Kirby accepted.

Just before taking that last load in, Kirby had the thought, “Mike Moore, who was a manager there for a number of years and was working for us, I think he should sit in the driver’s seat and take this load in.”

When the grain elevator opened in April of 1988, after 2 years of building, Nester Nash was the Grain Agent, with Mike Moore as his assistant. Moore was excited to say, “It was an honour to be assistant manager with Nester Nash, the manager when Sask. Wheatpool opened the elevator in April 1988, but also to deliver the last load with DH Werle Farms when asked to by Kirby Werle.”

Harold Wagner, now a resident of Churchbridge, had the honour of delivering the very first tandem truckload back in 1988 when it was known as Sask. Wheat Pool Langenburg. “It was very wet that day. I could only bring 550 bushels in, but it was a huge honour to be the first tandem truck to deliver grain to our local elevator,” Wagner fondly recalled.

Throughout its history, the elevator was owned by only three companies; Sask Wheat Pool, Vitera and finally Richardson Pioneer who have deemed it for demolition for business reasons.

Gary Horseman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Four-Town Journal