Welcome once again to Ruby Tuesday. This week we were given the choice of doing a regular ruby post or changing it to green in honor of St. Paddy's Day.
The minute I read about going green I knew exactly what I wanted to post. The place I had in mind is about 25 miles away in a neighboring county. Fortunately, I had an appointment near there and the weather was good so, I got my photos without making a special trip. Sometimes good things do come at unexpected times.
This wonderful old building with the emerald roof has a long history which I learned first hand from the current owner. As early as 1874 the site was a mill, making Meramec and Red Rose Flour. The mill burned in 1883 and the grain elevator came along in 1887. The tallest building is the oldest and has been expanded over the years by different owners. It has been in continuous operation since 1887. The business was purchased by Richard Grellner in 1976 and renamed "Valley Park Elevator". Mr Grellner passed away last year and his son, Jeff took over.
In 1874, this was a remote rural location but is now in the middle of a bustling urban area. A large Chrysler plant was built on farmland just down the road in 1959. The plant workers needed housing so many of the surrounding farms became subdivisions. By 1986 the two lane route 141 had become multi-lane. This expansion eliminated most of the mill's frontage and blocked grain trucks from getting in. Grellner feared his business days were coming to a rapid end. But, rolling with the punches and creative thinking plus adding hardware items to his inventory saved the day. The power was stopped to the last working grain elevator in St. Louis County, but, Valley Park Elevator and hardware was born. Selling bulk seed, tools, feed, paint, propane, bedding plants, live bait and anything else there seemed to be a demand for.
Today, everything in the old grain elevator is sitting just as it was the day they shut it down. It is hung with cobwebs, and the earthy smell of grain lingers in the air. Wide scoop grain shovels lean against the wall, wheat still stuck to them by the filament of time. Pulleys the size of manhole covers suspend from the ceiling, idle for some twenty odd years now. But, Jeff assured me that, with a little grease and the flip of a switch, the elevators could run again as they did when wheat trucks lined the road waiting to unload.
The Meramac River runs some distance behind this business and floods are a part of life here. In the great flood of 1983, three feet of water found its way into the buildings. In 1993 they got by with only six inches inside.
Jeff expects this old building will be operated by his children and grandchildren if the highway department and the Meramac River will just leave it alone.
To visit more Ruby Tuesday entries or to join the fun visit Mary's blog at WORK OF THE POET http://workofthepoet.blogspot.com