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Death of a Skyline

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A bulldozer tears into the side of a wooden grain elevator. The magnificent prairie landmark crumples to the ground. Once, more than 5,000 Alberta grain elevators graced the skyline. Today they're being razed to make way for modern concrete structures.

Are these "prairie cathedrals" being destroyed due to obsolescence or corporate profit? In this film, a lively cast of characters reveals the story of these disappearing landmarks. The citizens of Mayerthorpe, Alberta fight to save their elevator as demolition day approaches. A Montana couple, Bruce and Barbara Selyem, race to photograph elevators across the continent before they are ripped down. Pete Kirk salvages grain-worn wood from demolition sites to build furniture and recycle a piece of prairie history.

With archival film clips, interviews and dramatic footage of tumbling grain elevators, Death of a Skyline explores the history and significance of these familiar prairie structures. Wooden grain elevators have been at the heart of North America's economic, cultural and physical landscape for more than a century. As they continue to fall, will all that remains be memories of a vanishing way of life?

2003, 41 min 43 s

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