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Hecker H-O Oats Milling Company, Buffalo, NY
In the late 19th Century, Buffalo, New York, was well-established as a grain milling center and the history of the grain elevators in the Buffalo area, and the railroads that served them, is an interesting and compelling subject. The Buffalo Creek Railroad, with its large flour bag herald, was a major service provider to this major local industry.
In 1893, Edward Ellsworth constructed a wood and brick grain milling structure on Fulton Street, but this original building was destroyed by fire. When Edward Ellsworth & Company acquired the H-O Oats Company of the Bronx, New York, creators and producers of Hornsby's Oatmeal, the company name was changed and the H-O tradename became Ellsworth's primary marketing brand. Products included H-O Oats, Force Toasted Wheat Flakes, and Presto Self Rising Flour.
A concrete and brick factory building was constructed in 1912, and the now-famous concrete elevator was constructed in 1931, adding a 580,000 bushel capacity. Emblazoned with the H-O Oats name, these buildings continued to dominate Buffalo's Cobblestone District for the next three-quarters of a century.
The company's ownership passed through the hands of many individuals and companies; most notably the Hecker H-O Milling Company of which our cars are representative. In 1945, the complex became part of Best Foods. In 1969, Best Foods merged with Corn Products Company which continued operations at the facility until 1983.
After the cessation of milling operations, the complex was sold and became a tire warehouse. It was abandoned after a massive fire gutted much of the complex in 1987.
In 2006, the Seneca Nation of Indians purchased the H-O Oats Complex as part of their future casino site, and the entire facility was recently demolished despite the outcry from local historians and preservationists.
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This page is current as of 01.21.2012.