During much of the 20th century the Western Canadian prairie was dominated by fields of grain, criss-crossed by train tracks, and punctuated by tall grain elevators that loaded wheat, barley and oats onto waiting railroad cars. These “prairie skyscrapers,”, emblazoned with the name of the local town, became an iconic symbol of the farming communities that prospered in the prairies until the era of the automobile.
Rolla was settled in 1912 as a farming community in the Peace River Block of British Columbia. It was a regional hub until the railroad was built and ended 22 km to the south. It is now home to about 300 people, although it serves a much larger population in the surrounding area with community institutions like a hotel, a pub, community hall, post office, 2 churches, and a school.
In 2008, the Rolla Community Cemetery Board started discussing the need to expand their cemetery while taking into account environmental issues. After many years of discussing options, they were able to apply to the Peace River Regional district for partial funding to build a columbarium.
Ruth Veiner of the Cemetery Board is proud of the unique double annex grain elevator design that the community created with help and guidance from KMI. She says that the structure is, “so fitting for our grain producing area of BC. The columbarium sits proudly atop a rise, overlooking the productive valley that drew our pioneer settlers here one hundred years ago. With modern times our old elevators are becoming a thing of the past, and one member of the board said, ‘It is so great to see an elevator going up rather than being torn down.’ We have had compliments on the design from people outside our area and the board and members of the community are so very pleased with the “new Rolla elevator” a true tribute to those brave and adventurous pioneers who came north and west to open up this wonderful area for grain producing.”