Climbing The Hill

Two -scale steam models

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RR#2,Box 178, Arcola, Illinois, 61910

Two -scale steam models: in foreground, an Advance Rumely built by Russell Helm; to rear, a Reeves owned by Mr. Arrow smith of Perryville, IN.

Ten years of steady growth coupled with the rarity of equipment exhibits brought in from all over the United States and Canada have made the Douglas County Historical Steam Festival at Arcola, Illinois one show that you will definitely want to include on your 1988 show schedule. The two show ingredients just mentioned are only possible because of the third ingredient people. Any show is only as good as the many people who support the show and in the case of this show, we are blessed with the most friendly and good-hearted show supporters to be found anywhere in the Midwest.

The festival this past year featured thirteen large traction steam engines along with two one-half size steam models and several restored antique tractors and gas motors. Murray Little and Frank Doris from Keene, Ontario Canada operated the 20 HP Canadian Special Reeves plowing engine and during the course of the three days made the crowd aware of why the Canadian Reeves is all that it is built up to be and more. The 20HP Reeves hooked up to the Reeves six-bottom hand-lift plow not only exemplified the rarity of the exhibits but made a picturesque scene of twin cylinder smoothness that handled that plow like it was not even in the ground. The engineering of Murray Little and Frank Doris was as smooth as the twin cylinders themselves and also was a real credit to their attention to the smallest detail.

Mart Coslet from Murdock, Illinois was a new exhibitor this past year with his nicely restored 18HP return flue Huber. This late, heavy built engine performed beautifully on the 1889 Gaar-Scott sawmill and the 36-56 all-wood Keck Gonnerman separator. Bob Hughes from Bloomington, Indiana assisted Mart on the engineering of the Huber and the engine responded as only a return flue engine can with a different exhaust sound and plenty of power with very little need for water or coal.

Bob and Sharon Grobelny from Decatur, Illinois, exhibited for the first time, their 19HP rear mounted Keck Gonnerman, single cylinder engine and their newly restored Iro-quois double cylinder side-mounted Steam Roller. Bob and Sharon worked hard right up to show time getting the roller ready and it not only ran smoothly, but looked nice all cleaned and painted as it rolled out some rough spots on the grounds. Leland and Loyd Creed from Mattoon, Illinois, displayed their 16HP M. Rumely rear-mounted steam engine which had just been restored and was a nice addition to the engine lineup. For 1988, Leland and Loyd hope to be pulling the three-bottom Emerson gang plow with tiller steering for an unusual plowing demonstration. Richard and Kevin Kemna from Danville, Illinois, displayed their 22HP Advance Rumely and gave it a real workout on the sawmill. Power was no problem and the exhaust of the Advance Rumely could be heard throughout the show grounds.

Bob Johnson of Terra Haute, Indiana, along with his daughter, Lori, and son, Bob, Jr., operated the 22-65HP rear-mounted, double-cylinder, Keck Gonnerman and the 25-85HP Nichols and Shepard single-cylinder, heavy geared plowing engine. From the chuckle of the twin Keck on the sawmill to the deep bark of the Nichols on the traction plow, the Johnson family put on engine demonstrations that left the crowd with pleased expressions on their faces.

Russ Cade of White Heath, Illinois, assisted by Doug Stapel of St. Louis, Missouri, and Cory Spencer of Tuscola, Illinois engineered the big 80HP Case and the Canadian Special 28HP Minneapolis on the John Deere eight-bottom traction plow. The large traction wheels on both of these engines left no room for slippage and the eight-bottom plow was pulled with ease. A bent governor shaft gave the Minneapolis a temporary problem but thanks to Russ Cade the bent shaft was discovered and straightened.

Russell Helm of Murdock, Illinois exhibited his half scale 22HP Advance Rumely traction engine and as always it was an attention getter as the craftsmanship by Russell is second to none and the performance of this well built model is exceptional. Another half-size model was exhibited by Mr. Arrowsmith of Perrysville, Indiana. This was a Reeves model and had been built by a Mr. Tingle of Indiana a few years ago. Mr. Arrowsmith pulled Bob Hughes' one-half scale sawmill while taking turns with Mr. Helm's Advance Rumely model and various gas tractors. Mr. Hughes one-half scale sawmill was a crowd pleaser as always with large crowds gathering to watch whenever the head sawyer's lever was pulled and the carriage started rolling.

Bob Johnson and daughter Lori operate the late model 22 HP double cylinder, rear-mounted Keck Gonnerman engine sawing wood.

Bob Johnson, Bob Johnson, Jr., and Lori Johnson of Terre Haute, IN, operate the big 25-85 Canadian Nichols & Shepard pulling the Reeves hand-lift six bottom traction plow.

Murray Little and Frank Doris operate the 20 HP simple double Canadian Reeves special. This engine hooked up with a Reeves plow, making a rare complete Reeves plowing outfit.

Several other steam engines were on display, and the Illiana Tractor Club displayed several nicely restored tractors which was organized by Bill Shumate of Urbana, Illinois and George Smith of Fithian, Illinois especially for the Festival. Don and Bob Cook of Marshall, Illinois and Steve Newport of Marshall, Illinois organized the Southern part of the State for additional outstanding tractor displays.

Clifford Williams of Hugo, Illinois and Orville Yelton of Casey, Illinois organized the gas engine display and a large number of nicely restored engines were on hand to signify that this is both a steam and gas engine show. B.J.K. Helmuth of Arthur, Illinois and Bob Valentine of Monti-cello, Illinois and Irvin Kamm of Atwood, Illinois were head sawyers on the 1889 Gaar Scott sawmill and the automated bandsaw mill. Millard and Brian Dukeman of Arthur, Illinois and Maj. Bragg of Atwood, Illinois operated the automatic shingle mill powered by a Heider Rock Island Plow Company tractor restored by Mr. Bragg. Tim Wood of Sadorus, Illinois and Maj. Bragg were operators of the all wood Keck Gonnerman 36-56 separator.

Fred Johnson of Paris, Illinois gave free rides on his scale model train while Jim Mills of Marshall, Illinois and Richard Hanks of Crossville, Illinois gave free rides with their draft horses and special wagons. The crowd enjoyed the tour of the 1873 Moore home, quality antique/arts-/crafts sale, bluegrass music and old time piano under the big tent, homemade ice cream, good food, and plenty of cool shade. The crowd really enjoyed the demonstration of old time skills such as Jobi Spencer blacksmithing, carousel carving by Norman Bryden, duck carving by Bud and Barb Davis and Ken and Dorothy Macinnes, and quilting by the ladies of the Hugo Church, just to name a few. The list of supporters and exhibits could go on and on, but since there are some 340 people involved during the actual show, I know this is impossible. We were pleased that the film production 'Steam Festival' had such tremendous success and the first production run was sold out before Christmas. The second production run will be forthcoming soon, so keep watching for the announcement in this magazine.

As we look to the new Festival dates of September 3, 4, and 5, 1988, we for see the continuation of growth, new rare exhibits, meeting new friends, and the accomplishment of new established goals. We hope you will be able to share these new horizons with us as we climb the hill together.