Spilling Grain – The Real People of Buffalo’s Grain Elevators Tell Their Stories

Did you ever want to get granular with the grain elevators? If so, you will want to attend an upcoming event titled Spilling Grain. The event will feature accounts from former grain scoopers, mill workers, and others who lived and worked among Buffalo’s grain elevators. This humanist encounter will take place on Saturday, June 8 at The Central Library’s Grosvenor Room, where speakers will discuss their interactions with the iconic structures, many of which are still compromised.

In recent years, we have seen an increase in adoration for our at-risk stock of historic grain elevators and mills. At the same time, ADM senselessly demolished the Great Northern in 2022, thus robbing this city of part of its esteemed, and very fragile, architectural heritage. And while there are heart-wrenching demolitions still taking place, there are also success stories such as the one that we are witnessing take place at Silo City.

Now, historians, researchers, and those who worked at the sites, are coming together to discuss the nature of the grain silos and mills, so that we can all benefit from the discourse.

The event will be hosted by Kate Kaye, a Buffalo native and longtime journalist, who has been conducting a series of audio storytelling conversations with the people who have been closest to the structures. While the in-person event will be held on June 8, the fascinating audio series will be available on numerous podcast channels (see below). Examples of a few of the intimate audio stories include tiptoeing across a frozen-thick river to get to a whiskey-soaked work lunch, standing atop grain piled so high it was like trudging in deep snow, spending a month camped inside a leaky grain elevator, and about fighting for the elevators to just…well…be.

For a lot of people over far more than a century, Buffalo’s grain elevators weren’t icons of industrial chic. They weren’t gritty backdrops for experimental poetry readings, or places to zipline over. And no — they most certainly were not always painted to resemble giant cans of beer. Spilling Grain is about what happened in and around these places before they became boat tour themes and apartment scenery. Spilling Grain is a love letter to the people who give Buffalo’s grain elevators meaning from by Kate Kaye, a Buffalo native and longtime journalist. 

Join Spilling Grain creator Kate Kaye and Spilling Grain storytellers Joel Carter, Don Dodd, and Lynda Schneekloth on June 8, from 2pm to 3pm at the Buffalo and Erie County Central Library in downtown Buffalo.

Spilling Grain is now a podcast! Listen in Apple PodcastsSpotify, or iHeart — or find Spilling Grain on other podcast platforms, or at the Central Library’s digital collection, and streaming online at RedTailMedia.

The post Spilling Grain – The Real People of Buffalo’s Grain Elevators Tell Their Stories appeared first on Buffalo Rising.

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