COMMANDER LARRABEE ELEVATORS

At one time, the Minneapolis and St. Louis rail line was lined with mammoth grain elevators.  If you have additions or clarifications, please contact us.  As a point of reference, the first grain elevators in Minneapolis had been built above St. Anthony Falls in 1867.

Commander Larrabee Elevators, Milling and Storage, 5705 W. 35th, was built @1880. This wooden elevator stored grain hauled in from country elevators for the Minneapolis mills. When the structure, described as the P.V. #1, burned to the ground in 1910, its owner appeared before the Village Council asking for his taxes to be reduced. The elevator was replaced by a 10 story cement structure. Daniel K. Whalen, who lived next door, was the superintendent from 1909 to 1944. (Harold Whalen in 1952). It was known as the Burdick Grain Elevators in 1984. D.K. Whalen’s daughter remembered this about the structure:

When Dad started as the Supt. in 1909 there was only one building. It was just an oblong building. Later I remember them building another section of 9 silos, also a square building that held machinery and a cage elevator. The office was also in that building. In later years, 36 more silos were added. The grain was brought in by train and stored there until needed. During the Harvest Season the elevator was run 24 hours a day. I remember during the 1st World War that a group of soldiers were stationed there to patrol the area because they thought that the Germans might try to blow it up. They lived in tents but did all their cooking in our kitchen. Mr. Gibson worked in the office with Dad. My father, D.K. Whalen was Supt. From 1909 until he died in 1944.

A permit to build an addition was presented by Gust. A. Johnson and Son in late 1957.

 

34th and Yosemite, with Commander Elevators looming in background.  Photo courtesy Brenda Reinert
 

 


A 1962 photo at the Minnesota Historical Society identified it as belonging to Archer-Daniels.

 

In 1985 Con Agra Peavy donated the elevators to Malone College in Ohio.  In 1989 the 4.3 acre site was purchased by SCA Development.  The building attached to the elevators was exploded on September 14, 1989.  The elevators themselves were taken down by wrecking ball. 
 

Photo by Stormi Greener

 

In its place was built CityScape, an apartment complex with the address 5707 Highway 7.  The apartments have a rounded shape to pay homage to the monolith they replace.