I love old buildings. Evidently, I’m not alone. I scroll through posts on Facebook and Instagram and look at countless photos of abandoned buildings that are crumbling from time and disuse. The old Gibbard Grain Elevator in Imlay City is not one of those buildings that will eventually lie in ruins because no one loves it anymore.
I walked through the market at the grainery recently and took photos of areas that are now part of the decor and intrigue of the building. Many people came through the market and said things like, “I just love looking at this old building.” One man said, “I used to come here on my way home from school a buy a pop in the front office.”
So, here are a bunch of photos of things many folks admired as they walked through the grainery.
The middle photo is of some kind of lift. I’m not sure how it worked, but it’s interesting.
I assume a burlap sack was attached to each side of the grain chute, then a hopper was opened to fill the bags. The wooden spool probably held twine to tie the grain bags.
The crank and chain are intriguing. Maybe it opened a chute under the floor.
The electric box was the control center for machinery in the elevator. With a closer look you can see labels on several of the buttons. I don’t know what egg mash is, but I love the old Wayne Egg Mash sign. It’s hidden on the back of a door.
The black box covers an electric motor. The huge rusted overhead bin has an auger inside that kept the grain moving through the chutes. I can imagine how loud the sounds were when the grainery was in full operation.
This antique safe is incredible. It probably weighs over a thousand pounds. I used a very heavy, seven-foot-long railroad spike pry bar to slowly move the safe back against the wall, an inch at a time. I’ve never seen anything like it.
A walk through the old Gibbard Grainery is a history lesson. The Chic Antiques Market is making great use of the old structure and the owners have terrific plans for months and years to come.