Chautauqua County family turns an old silo built in 1914 into a 9-11 memorial


John Swanson retired from dairy farming back in 2014. He farms hay now and still has a number silos. Swanson and his family decided to turn one of the silos into a memorial for 9-11.

“We just thought, being so close to the road that people would see it year round,” said Swanson, who said he hopes the mural serves as a teaching tool as well. “There’s so many kids nowadays; I don’t really think they realize what 9-11 is. Growing up knowing about Pearl Harbor, we had that drilled into our heads about Pearl Harbor. Hopefully it will be the same for 9-11 down the road.”

Painting the mural was a family effort. Swanson painted the background of the silo white and the twin towers black. His daughter Amanda Swanson-Myles, was on a lift for several days painting the details in the flags.

“We worked from 9 to 9,” said Swanson-Myles. “I got up in the morning and got on the lift. The lift was by my best friend. I took my lunch up there and listened to some music.”

The mural can be found on Thornton Road in Sinclairville. For the family, 9-11 is a sad day etched in their memories.

“I was just getting ready to chop corn that day. It was bright. I’ll always remember how bright it was that day,” Swanson said. “I happened to go in the house and turn on the TV, and from there I guess that ended the chopping corn that day.”

The family says they’re not finished yet. On the other side of this silo, they’re going to create another mural. That one will be a memorial for Flight 93.

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