Kootenay Road Trip 2020 Scenes: Creston’s Grain Elevators
Pulling into Creston, BC, one can’t help but notice two weathered grain elevators looming over the highway. When we drove in the valley was filled with wildfire smoke from the south and we didn’t see the elevators until we were almost beside them. Fortunately the next day was a little clearer and we were able to explore the elevators, learn a bit about their history and take some photos.
The grain elevators are about 85 years old and are beautifully weathered. The red elevator was owned by Alberta Wheat Pool and was built in 1935. The grey elevator, built in 1936, was originally owned by Midland and Pacific and later by United Grain Growers. If you look closely (and I’m sorry I didn’t get a photo that shows this well) you can see the faded names of both organizations on the elevator. Both are about six stories tall and were used to collect and distribute wheat, barley, oats and rye grown in the Creston Valley.
But, you object, both Alberta Wheat Pool and United Grain Growers are defunct. True. The elevators were closed to public use 40 to 50 years ago and owned privately until 2018 when the Columbia Basin Trust bought them. They did so knowing these are two of only four grain elevators left in BC, and well worth preserving.
While we were exploring we were pleased to discover that an annex built on to the red elevator houses the Kunze Gallery. We passed time admiring the artwork and were pleased to chat for a few minutes with the gallery’s owner, Sandy Kunze. The gallery features a lot of beautiful art, so if you’re in the area and the gallery is open, definitely drop in. Better yet, follow the gallery on Instagram at @kunze_gallery!