Around 1981, a farm silo in what is now the Municipality of North Norfolk was featured in a Manitoba Co-operator series on rural buildings. The original caption for the photograph is given below.
The upright silo is a North American improvement on an older storage system for fodder reported to have originated in Hungary. Until a farmer in Illinois built an upright silo about 1873, the traditional storage had been in deep ground trenches. In fact, according to the authoritative book The Barn, the term silo is believed to have originated in France where “ensilage” means a pit or trench. The preference in Canada and the United State, however, quickly shifted to vertical structures of wood, brick, and stone. None of these materials are used in modern-day silos where concrete, metal and super plastics are said to be more practical. But can anyone deny the superior appeal of old wood silos like this one just one mile southeast of Austin? Judged by local sources to have been built about 60 to 70 years ago, this particular vessel has not held stored feed for many years. Standing erect and in surprisingly good condition for an abandoned state, the silo is part of what appears to be the remains of a rare U-shaped barn complex. This 30-foot example is unlike most wooden silos in North America in that it did not utilize the circular metal bands that kept many similar structures from rupturing. Of all of Manitoba’s earliest farm structures, the silo has been one of the first to disappear from modern view.
The whole yard site, including the silo, was demolished in the late 1980s or early 1990s. As of 2012, there is no surviving evidence of a farm at the site.
Historic Sites of Manitoba: Manitoba Co-operator Rural Buildings Series
We thank Leo Westman, Ben Wall, and Neil Christoffersen for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Bob Hainstock, Ed Ledohowski, and Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 6 February 2021
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