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General Mills and St. Mary's Elevators
By Dennis Galucki and Chuck LaChiusa

TEXT Beneath Photos

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General Mills




1905 photo

St. Mary's

. . .

Grain Elevator

Table of Contents

Frontier / Washburn Crosby / General Mills

The large General Mills elevating and milling complex at 54 South Michigan Street began as a small Buffalo-owned elevator company, Frontier Elevator, incorporated by six local businessmen in 1886. The Frontier has a capacity of 4.75 million bushels and was the largest of Buffalo's 21 elevators in operation at the time.

In 1903 a new flour milling company came to buffalo from Minneapolis, the Washburn Crosby Company. The mill was built next to the Frontier on the site of the old Dakota Mill that had burned some years earlier. The company's tile storage tanks lacked marine legs. Washburn Crosby made an agreement with Frontier for unloading and transferring grain. In 1907 Washburn Crosby bought out Frontier.

In 1928 General Mills was organized in Buffalo with Washburn Crosby as its nucleus. The Buffalo operation has made the Gold Medal brand flour as well as Wheaties, Bisquick, Betty Crocker mixes and Cheerios (originally called Cheerioats).

By 1964, General Mills owned O-Cell-O, a manufacturer of synthetic sponges, and Kittinger Furniture.

Other elevator additions on the site were constructed of concrete, although the only remaining tile elevator in Buffalo is still part of the complex.


Spencer Kellogg Elevator / Schaefer Brewing / St. Mary's Cement Elevator, 389 Ganson Street, Buffalo

Built 1910, 1923, 1936

The earliest elevator built on the Wadham Slip (later renamed the Spencer Kellogg Slip), was the wooden Coatsworth Elevator The second Coatsworth Elevator became the Kellogg "A" Elevator.

Spencer Kellogg's grandfather began milling linseed oil in 1824 in the Mohawk Valley near Amsterdam, New York.

Spencer Kellogg moved to Buffalo and, at age 28, built his first linseed oil mill in 1879. By 1894, he constructed a second mill, giving him a total of 36 presses, making his the largest linseed oil plant in the U.S. The company existed in Buffalo from 1879 to 1961, growing from a modest one-man operation to become a diversified international enterprise operating in eight states and several foreign countries.

The elevator consists of a large set of bins joined at the top through a 1917 transfer system to a small collection of bins on the south, with a gap of perhaps 150 feet between. The reason for this odd setup is that there was once a slip here underneath the transfer system (see photo showing the slip). Two vessels could be handled at the same time.

Instead of storing grain, the elevators now store cement.

- Sources:

Photos and their arrangement 2004 Chuck LaChiusa
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