Octagonal wooden silo, Rural Municipality of De Salaberry, MB
Ghosts of a bygone era, their scale puny by today’s standards yet there is a mystery, a dense past contained within the weathered and lichened boards. This example, given a sensuous curve over the decades, is situated in the Rural Municipality of De Salaberry in southern Manitoba, one of three such structures in the RM. The local heritage buffs proudly refer to them as “our litttle Eiffel towers.”
Octagonal wooden silos and barns were built mainly between 1850 and 1900, the advantage being the interior corners were less acute creating more storage space. Typically, polygonal silos – some were 16-sided – had a hipped roof like this example, sometimes a dormer on the top as here which was used to fill the silo. More often a trap door covered the ingress opening.
The relics in De Salaberry RM were likely built around 1885 by the original landowners and used well into the next century. The silos were formally turned up when the RM conducted an inventory of local heritage buildings in 2009. They discovered 65 potential heritage sites from silos to churches to houses to various architectural styles that represented the various ethnic groups who settled the region, including French, Metis, Hutterite, British and Ukrainian.
Check out the fate of another octagonal grain silo near Carberry.