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Courtesy Sam Roach
Frisco's grain elevatorsThe Roach Grain and Elevator Co., operated by Emmett Dillard Roach from 1915-1922, burned in 1922.
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Photo by Christal Howard
Frisco's grain elevatorsThe two existing grain elevators are located north of Main Street and east of John W. Elliott Drive.
Although farming has not been a part of Frisco’s culture in many years, the city’s agricultural roots are preserved by the presence of the grain elevators on the north side of Main Street, near the railroad tracks.
According to the Frisco Heritage Association, the Frisco grain elevators still in existence—one is metal and the other concrete—were constructed in the late 1940s and early 1950s by Continental Grain.
The history of grain elevators in Frisco extends much farther than that, however.
The land on the west side of the railroad tracks, bordered by John Elliott Drive, served as an agricultural hub for the city’s flourmills, cotton gins and grain storage operations.
A grain elevator has been in existence in the same place since the early 1900s, but it burned—a common fate for early facilities—and was rebuilt by different owners throughout the years.
Longtime Frisco resident Sam Roach said his grandfather, Emmett Dillard Roach, bought the original grain elevator around 1915—named Roach Grain & Elevator Co.—before it burned in 1922.
“It was his pride and joy,” said Roach, who knew about the grain elevator but never got the chance to discuss it with his grandfather, who died when Roach was young. “It was the biggest one probably between Sherman and Dallas,” he said.
Bob Griffin, who moved to Frisco at the age of 5, remembers his father and uncle running the grain elevator business that included a flour mill and corn shucking operation from 1936 to 1946.
“It was a busy place at harvest time,” Griffin said. “Grain trucks would be backed up all the way down Main Street.”
If individuals didn’t purchase harvested grain, it would be sold to and stored for the government until it was needed, Griffin said.
The practice of keeping and selling grain was tricky, however, because grain shrinks when stored, yet the delivery had to match the amount of grain paid for.
Future of the grain elevators
The grain elevator complex is now surrounded by urban development. City officials said the white concrete building is structurally sound, but the metal building is not and has not been for some time.
Officials have not yet figured out a way to tie the grain elevator area to the surrounding development.
However, that could change at some point in the future.
The council recently gave the go-ahead for city development staff members to begin a master plan of the area.
The council also agreed to allow city staff to talk to developers who may be interested in leasing and developing the white building into a restaurant or other similar facility that would suit the history of the building and the development in the surrounding area.