Video

Drone captures demolition of tiny Sask. town's grain elevator

It was the end of an era in the tiny town of Rockhaven, Sask., on Monday, as the Pioneer grain elevator came tumbling down.

Landmark in Rockhaven, Sask., topples

Trevor Scherman caught the end of an era in the tiny town of Rockhaven, Sask. 0:41

It was the end of an era in the tiny town of Rockhaven, Sask., on Monday, as the Pioneer grain elevator came tumbling down.

"I think everyone wasn't very happy that it happened. It's a sad thing," said Debbie Duncan, who with her husband Pat has farmed in the area for 41 years. "It was really quite a pretty sight. Part of your heritage is gone when this happens."

A trackhoe chipped away at the bottom of the elevator, causing it to topple to the ground as about 50 people watched.

"Bit of a creaking lumber noise, then a pile of dust and it was all over," Pat Duncan said. "Didn't take long at all."

The elevator, built in 1973, was significant in that it was one of the first grain handling points to handle a million bushels in the area.  

Once there were four grain elevators operating in Rockhaven at the same time. 

"One by one, down they went," Pat said. 

Today, only a handful of families live in the community. There's one elevator left, formerly owned by the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, which the Duncans bought, fixed up and are using for grain storage. 

"It's the last one here and it's not going anywhere," Pat said.

A drone operated by farmer Trevor Scherman provided video of the Pioneer elevator's final moments.

There's been a steep drop the number of grain elevators across the Prairies over the past 50 years.

The rise of truck transportation, the move to bigger farms, the decline of of rail subsidies and the development of large inland grain terminals are among the factors, according to historians.

Rockhaven is about 58 kilometres west of North Battleford.

Trevor Scherman's drone camera captured this Pioneer elevator being demolished in Rockhaven, Sask. (Trevor Scherman/CBC)

With files from Chris Lane

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