Mr. L. K. Wood's snow capped Minnie

Mr. L. K. Wood's snow capped Minnie.

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Mendon, Utah

This 1915 vintage of 19 hp. direct flue, was almost on top of the mountain separating the valley of Cashe from the famous Bear Lake valley.

This engine was used on the now abandoned gold mine about 25 years ago to operate the hoist. Prior to that time it had its regular runs threshing and had done some ploughing. Late October had already done damage to late vegetation and a light fall of snow covered the mountains. The deer hunting season was on. I had been given a few hasty directions as to where to find this engine. I made the mistake of taking the wrong ravine. I continued on, higher and higher up the narrow and rough Canyon road. Finally I encountered a foot of snow in the narrow cut with perpendicular sides. Whizzing bullets from the hunters added no pleasure to the situation. My only alternative was to back down as there was no place to turn. I backed out of the snow to a little opening that gave a beautiful view to the green coil of Bear Lake with October's sun reflecting.

However, I was not so much interested in the scenery as I was in getting down the Canyon. With plenty of flat rocks around I built a turn table for the rear wheels of the Plymouth to roll on. Inch by inch I cramped the car. The slightest miss move would have sent us down the steep precipice of 200 feet. I also prayed as I was accustomed to in such predicaments. My prayers were answered as I finally headed the 50 Model down the Canyon. I came to a little flat and a lone hunter told me I was 50 rods from the engine but I would have to go down to the forks of the road and take the right hand fork.

The red wheels and the smoke stack I first sighted filled my bosom with rapture. One of the 'Great Minneapolis Lines' products I'd so of times in youth parused in the Annual Catalog. How my heart throbbed with joy as I veiwed the object of my search. Mr. Parker, the owner, was there arranging for its transport. Recalling the experience of the past hour, I said, 'How in the world are we going to get it down to the highway.

'I drove it up here on its own power,' Mr. Parker said. It seemed impossible with rocky sidling and sharp turns, steep and narrow places. The 18 hp. Minneapolis had actually climbed the difficult heights with Mr. Parker's able control some 25 years previous. However, the vandals had broken off all protruding pipes, brasses and some cast parts rendering the faithful servant unable to function before necessary repairs could be had.

With a caterpillar tractor we started descending from the 8,000 ft. elevation. One hollow was so steep it was necessary to get the second tractor to help. Finally we reached the highway and from there we used a dual trailed to transport the ten ton Minnie 70 miles to the quiet little settlement of Mendon.

There she was safely landed on the ground beside the Russell 10 hp. of 1392, Russell 6 hp. of 1891 and the Case 60 hp. of 1911.

Several days were spent repairing and improvising running parts. I turned the city water in the capacious boiler at a 95 lbs. pressure with no sign of leaks. A fire was started and finally the steam raised to 50 lbs. I slowly opened the throttle and Minnie refused to respond. Having had much difficulty heretofore, I raised the governor valve stem and away she went. About knocking a 67 years old steam veteran off the side. I then engaged the gears and traveled around the lot with such delight that only a steam engine enthusiast could fully appreciate.

Minnie is awaiting her fresh coat of paint along with 'Betsy Lee', 'Old Betsy', and 'Old Nig' (Case 60). I've already painted the Advance separator and Massilon Cyclone preparatory to our Centennial next year, which will fully depict 100 years of progress of threshing machinery, including, Ground Hog, Sweep Horse Power, plain steam outfit and the latest steam outfit with blower, self feeder and weigher. Of course the later contraptions will be added to bring it down to date with Gas and' self-propelled combines.