Stettler’s 75-year-old grain elevator will be history. The Parrish & Heimbecker Ltd. elevator is officially scheduled to close at the end of business today. But manager Eric Snowden will stay on site until Jan. 17 to deal with the last few truck loads of grain. Snowden said it’s one of the smallest working grain elevators in Western Canada and larger elevators are taking over. “Competition is very strong,” Snowden said. “Our little, old elevator is 75 years old and we’re having a hard time competing.” CP and CN want 100 rail car spots for shipping, but Parrish & Heimbecker only has five, he said. But Snowden said old elevators do have their advantages. They have more compartments to store different kinds of grain. Storage capacity is smaller, but more shipments can be coordinated through out the year to keep grain moving smoothly. This year’s drought put the final nail in the elevator’s coffin. Parched fields couldn’t produce, he said. “It’s one of the worst years I’ve seen in my 22 years at the elevator. “There’s just no grain this year. “It’s being kept for either seed or feed on the farm.” The elevator saw only 1,000 tonnes of grain in 2002 compared to the usual 20,000 tonnes. Work at elevators include grain analysis, grading, mixing, storage and shipping. High season would have the elevator’s two full-time employees on run. It’s also been a regular meeting place for producers. About 100 area farmers used the Stettler elevator and Snowden said during busy times as many as 20 would stop in for a regular morning chat. “We’ve had a coffee pot on for years.” The company may rebuild somewhere in the area in the next five years, Snowden said. East Central Alberta Heritage Society is considering whether to join with other organizations to purchase the building. “It’s very preliminary. We believe it has some historical significance,” said Bob Willis, volunteer manager with the society. “Contact has been made with P and H and they’re very receptive to it being preserved.” It’s one of 26 elevators in Alberta that should be considered for its age and type of structure, Willis said. A Jan. 17 meeting is scheduled with Alberta Historic Resources to determine the elevator’s historical significance. The elevator is located next to the Alberta Prairie Steam Tours in downtown Stettler so it’s a great tourism location, he added.