In Seneca, Illinois on Williams Street west of Main Street, is a large red wood structure known as the Armour Warehouse or the Hogan Grain Elevator. It is on the north side of the Illinois Michigan Canal. This structure is the oldest and largest of the remaining grain elevators on the canal. This was originally built as storage facility for grain that was shipped on the canal. Later it was connected to the rail road for shipping by this modality.
John Armour purchased the property on which the facility was to be built in 1860. Construction took place in 1861–1862. Architect is not known.
The Armour family was prominent in the grain business. John was a grain dealer in Ottawa. He was Vice President of the First National Bank Ottawa. His brother George was a member of the Chicago Board of Trade and was a part owner of a grain elevator in Chicago.
The building construction is heavy timber post and beam with a limestone foundation. It is 65 feet in height and 40 x 80 feet in length and width. It has a storage capacity of 75,000 bushels. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.
During its history the grain elevator has had many owners. The original owner was a John Armour 1860. James Armour in 1868. Nelson J. Ellison and Michael Byrne in 1873. Guy Griswold in 1877. Nelson Rulison 1882. Kankakee and Seneca Railroad 1883. M.J. Hogan and H. Nelson 1886. Martin J. Hogan and Howard Neilson 1890. M. J Hogan Grain Company 1906. John Dunn 1949. Dunn Brothers Co-operations 1949. State of Illinois Department of Conservation 1985.
The grain elevator was originally built for storage of grain to be shipped on the Illinois and Michigan Canal to Chicago. Farmer’s disatisfaction with prices for their crops led to the development of railroads with shippage to alternative destinations.
One such railroad was the Kankakee and Seneca Railroad. It was built in 1882; spur was built to the Hogan Grain Elevator in 1883. The line basically carried freight; but did have limited passenger service. It closed in 1934. The line was operated by the Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Chicago Railway
Company and later the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago, and Saint Louis Railway Company.