It doesn’t appear in any brochure. It is nowhere to be found on the Tourism Hamilton website.
Yet right at the south edge of the city, there is a man-made wonder like no other in these parts.
It does not light up like the Eiffel Tower. It does not rise as high as our famous steel-mill stacks. But you’ve probably never seen a silo like the one at Sharon Pearce’s farm, Chippewa Road at Glancaster, just south of the airport.
Her silo is so special that it – and the handsome farm on which it sits – has been recognized this year under the Ontario Heritage Act.
A lot of new silos don’t rise at all. They’re just a long pit, white plastic over top. The new ones that do go up are usually made of steel. Nothing interesting about them.
And the old ones, of which you’ll still see plenty on a drive in the country, are made of boring dull-grey concrete.
But the one on the Pearce farm is the Cadillac of silos. It climbs several storeys into the air and its shiny coffee-coloured exterior gleams in the sun.
Ladies and gentlemen, you have before you the weatherproof, fireproof, vermin-proof Natco Everlasting Silo. It is made of glazed, non-porous, vitrified-clay hollow blocks. It is about a hundred years old.
Sharon Pearce, raised on a farm, came to this acreage with husband Warren 25 years ago. They liked the 1882 Gothic stone farmhouse. They liked the land. "And we liked that silo," Sharon says.
She and Warren set to work, raising cattle, pigs, chickens and planting corn, wheat, oats. They ran a trucking business on the side – two dump trucks and two water trucks. They had a meat shop at the back door too, though Sharon is sure most people were really coming by to look around that beautiful old house.
Sixteen years ago, Warren died. Sharon carried on. "I dug in my heels and decided nothing was going to knock me down," she says.
And she did have the able hand of Art French, who grew up on a farm in these parts. He became a pilot with Air Canada. But in retirement, he helped Sharon with the farm and shared his passion for history. He’s the one who encouraged Sharon to have her farm recognized.
Eight years ago, Sharon married Wayne Hamilton. He too had lost his spouse. He’s no farmer, but the retired Dofasco engineer has proven very handy around the place.
And there’s less farming on this 118-acre spread now. Sharon rents out the land. At a time when a combine costs $500,000, you have to go big or go home. The livestock’s all gone now too, so there’s no need for a silo.
In the old days, it would have been loaded to the top with chopped-up corn from the field. Now the silo is just a pretty thing.
An ad in a 1914 edition of the Farmer’s Advocate says that the "Natco Everlasting Silo has a survival value unequalled – it will last for generations." Now that’s truth in advertising.