For decades before the six grain silos at the Ganson Street RiverWorks complex bore the name Labatt Blue, they bore the initials GLF.
The site was home to the then- state-of-the-art Wheeler elevator starting around 1908, replacing the earlier wooden elevator shown below.
The Grange League Federation bought the elevators in 1929 and renovated and added to the structures over the next handful of years. At top production, a grain mill built on the site in 1930 was filling 100 rail cars with hog and cattle feed every day.
The GLF C-Annex was built in 1936. Its six main 100-foot tall, 21-feet across bins could hold up to 154,700 bushels of grain.
In 1964, GLF merged to combine Agway, and the milling and storage work done on the Buffalo River eventually moved to Tonawanda. The site was abandoned in the mid-1970s.
In 2014, the six silos of the GLF-C annex were painted blue and wrapped with giant vinyl beer can labels. RiverWorks co-owner Doug Swift called it “the largest six-pack in the world.”
When this photo was snapped in 1955, the Blossom GLF mill, along Buffalo Creek at Main Street in Elma, had been in operation for about 100 years.
The Ebenezer Society, after whom the Hamlet of Ebenezer in West Seneca was named, started the milling operation sometime between 1844 and 1864.
Michael Greis built the Blossom Dam and took over the feed works around 1900. In 1939, the creek-powered mill went electric, and the dairymen and poultrymen of the area were able to grow the size of their farms as feed became faster and cheaper to grind and mix.
While the overall number of farms was shrinking in Erie County in 1955 as the city spilled into the suburbs and the suburbs spilled into formerly more rural areas, the Blossom mill still had had about 500 regular customers who came in from Elma, West Seneca, Lancaster and Cheektowaga. The building was a farmer’s meeting place, where “the halls echoed with farmers’ small talk.”
Michael Greis’ family stuck with milling until the business petered out. His son Hardy took over the business, and was one of Blossom’s leading citizens for decades, serving as president of the Blossom Volunteer Fire Department.
Hardy’s brother, George Greis, operated a mill in Williamsville on Main Street near the northwest corner of Transit Road for many years before that rural crossing became a suburban crossroads. George Greis died in 1960.
In the 15 years before his death in 1967, Hardy operated Greis Radio & Television Service at the site of the mill, on Main Street in Elma, one block east of Transit Road.