Grain Elevators of
The Mill City
Minneapolis, MN


To the locals, it’s Mill Hell…

where Grain elevators go to die.

But to the city it’s the Southeast Minneapolis Industrial area (SEMI). Everyone else—they just see the grain elevators, or look through them. As someone who could not find too much about these concrete colossuses for years, I felt like I owed fellow children of the Twin Cities the story these elevators, when I learned it.

Bunge, Sept 29 (Source: Library of Congress, FSA:OWI Collection, LC-USF34- 060350-D)
Bunge, Sept 29 (Source: Library of Congress, FSA:OWI Collection, LC-USF34- 060350-D)

Everyone who lives in Minneapolis and St. Paul has driven past the rows of silos hundreds of times, but not many know what they were for, or when they popped up. To give the short answers: they stored different kinds of seeds to make flours and oils with, on behalf of malting plants, flour mills, and linseed presses. The first elevators here were built in the 1880s and the newest date to the 1940s.

You may now skim the photos if you wish, guilt-free. Below I simply elaborate, going company by company and elevator by elevator, to give a biography by amalgam. Mill Hell is a composite, so why should its history be any different?

References »

  • (1901). Minnesota. The Grain Dealers Journal, 6, 280. Retrieved from
  • (1907). A glimpse of the wheat industry in the north west.Grain and Farm Service Centers, 18, 105. Retrieved from
  • (1908). The Wine and Spirit Bulletin, 22(4), 67. Retrieved from
  • (1912). Big minneapolis terminal elevator to change hands.Commercial West, , 22, 46. Retrieved from
  • (1914). Engineering features. Journal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers , 36(5), 1914. Retrieved from
  • (1920). The marquette elevator co. The Northwestern miller, Retrieved from
  • (1922). Mineapolis men buy malting plant. American feed and grain, 6, 38. Retrieved from
  • (1922). The Northwest Miller, 129. Retrieved from
  • Como history. Retrieved from
  • Daykin, T. (2010). Historic milwaukee malting plant to shut down, laying off 23. Knight Ridder Tribune Business New
  • House Agriculture Committee. (1921). Future trading. (p. 823). Retrieved from
  • Sanborn fire insurance co. maps [Print]. (1952).
  • Steller, C. (2006, Feb 22). Student falls to death at bunge.Bridgeland News. Retrieved from
  • Shutter, M. (1932). History of minneapolis: gateway to the northwest. S.J. Clarke Publishing Company.