Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Rochester grain elevator to be moved June 17
By Rebecca Wyatt, OU Web Writer
|The Griggs Grain Elevator in downtown Rochester will be moved June 18.
Since 1880, the Griggs Grain Elevator has stood tall at the intersection of University Drive and Water Street in downtown Rochester, but by June 18, it is anticipated it will have a new home just east of Rochester Road along the Clinton River. Moving the structure, which is more than 125 years old, will take help from the community, and the Hold the Elevator Committee of the Rochester-Avon Historical Society is looking for support.
OU students and faculty have been assisting with raising awareness of the need for help in moving the elevator. The student art group La Pittura and the Anthropology Club teamed up to design a replica float for the Rochester Christmas Parade to help inform the community about the elevator.
“We have a lot of work to do and a lot of money to be raised before this structure can be moved,” said Greg Doyle, chair of the Hold the Elevator Committee. “But we are going to make it happen.”
Sunrise Assistant Living Center has bought the land the grain elevator currently sits on and plans to build a residential complex on the property. Doyle has worked with the developer and Sunrise to work out the June deadline, which was pushed back from the original January 2006 date.
A new foundation must be prepared at the new location before the barn can be moved. Once moved, it will need to be brought up to current building codes, painted and readied for it’s next phase of life.
Aside from monetary donations for the grain elevator’s move, the Hold the Elevator Committee is looking for donations in-kind. Anyone with specialized trades that can help with the preparation, the move or restoration should contact Hold the Elevator of the Rochester-Avon Historical Society.
“In general, we just need people to step up and say ‘I can help in this way or that way or in anyway you need me,’” Doyle said.
To help offset the nearly $100,000 tab for moving the barn and $1 million for adaptive reuse, the Rochester-Avon Historical Society is selling 500 prints of a painting of the grain elevator by local artist Gerry Post. The prints, which begin at $25, can be matted and framed for an additional cost.
“This barn helps to tell part of the history of Oakland County and Rochester and Avon Township,” said Richard Stamps, associate professor of anthropology at OU who also serves on the Oakland County Historical Commission and is a member of the Rochester community. “It was part of the farming lifestyle that supported Rochester.”
Farmers from around the area would bring grain to the elevator where it would be loaded into train cars and shipped to markets in Detroit. At the time, it was like a financial hub of the area.
Barn specialists have deemed the building worthy of the attention it’s getting and a building moving company said it could structurally be moved, Stamps said.
The Rochester-Avon Historical Society is a 501(c)3 organization and all elevator donations are tax deductible. To make a monetary donation, print and complete the donation form on the Rochester-Avon Historical Society Web site and return it by mail with a check made payable to the Rochester-Avon Historical Society.
For more information on the Griggs Grain Elevator or to volunteer, call Doyle at (248) 651-6076 or contact Hold the Elevator at firstname.lastname@example.org.