1125 Smithland Road, Shelbyville, Indiana 46176
Enclosed are some pictures of our 1/2 scale 25 HP double simple Reeves Steam engine. It is 11' 1' long, 60' wide and 6' 2' to top of the stack. The rear wheels are 38' x 12' wide, front wheels are 24' x 6' wide -3' bore, 6' stroke. Rear tank holds 40 gallons and the side tanks hold 20 gallons each. Boiler carries 150# steam, has two injectors and weighs 4800 pounds all loaded with coal and water. Everything but plumbing was built in our shop.
I started on this engine January 1, 1974, and had it at the Pioneer Engineers Club of Indiana at Rushville, Indiana on August 1, 2, 3, 1975. It was so new that the lettering was still wet when we unloaded at the show grounds the night before. The 1st and 2nd were beautiful days with lots of people but it rained over 3' Saturday night and continued to rain all day Sunday.
We also had our engine at the Shelby County Pioneer Craft Fair October 4, and 5, 1975. However, we were only there the 4th. We had prior commitments on the 5th. This show is just what its' name implies.
The most fun we had with the engine though was on October 12, 1975, better known here as the day 'THE OVER THE HILL CROWD' had a hay ride. It was one of those spur of the minute things. We decided to do it on Saturday the 11th.
It all started pretty early the next morning. We had loaded the engine on the trailer Saturday night. All Mary, my good wife, and I had to do Sunday morning was to build a fire and drive over into Rush County to the Wallace Wissing farm. Arriving there about 8:00 A.M., Wallace and Marge were already preparing for the day, which was beautiful, all over sunshine and color. We had asked a few friends to come take a ride through the woods pasture behind the little steam engine.
Soon we were ready to go. We had loaded eight bales of straw on a flat bed farm wagon for seats, which were soon filled. Down the lane we started down into the woods, pasture and kept going right on to Conn's Creek, forded the creek and started to climb out of the valley. It was a long steep hill and three of the Wissing boys, (Marge and Wallace have five boys and three girls) didn't think anything that looked and smelled like that could pull all those people up that hill. We got to the top all right, and the engine wasn't even breathing hard. The boys had been waiting at the top with a four wheel drive truck to pull us up. Those doubting 'Thomases' just faded away. The only casualty going up that hill was a hole burned in Frank Priest's new white felt hat.
From there we went through a huge clover field and into another woods pasture, back down into the bottom and forded another fork of Conn's Creek. Then on through the fields to the road leading back to the farmhouse. Near the road was a barn and corn crib. The house had burned down some time ago. As soon as the barn came into view someone began hollering to stop, we needed to make a pit stop. Then we discovered we had made a horrible mistake! Some of the folks needed a small step ladder to get on the wagon and we had left it as the starting point and they couldn't get off. A long wide 2' board solved that problem.
Soon we were on our way again now on a black top road about two miles from our starting point. We crossed Conn's Creek again, this time by bridge and three hours and fifteen minutes after leaving, we were back at the farmhouse to a meal of navy beans and ham, cornbread with two or three different salads that the Wissing girls had fixed while we were gone. We had traveled 4 to 5 miles and the engine had enough coal and water to make the trip.
The 'over the hill' gang making the trip were: Florence and Morris Trotter, Kermit and Helen Lewis, Armit Lewis, Frank and Maurine Priest, Charles and Dorothy Fisher and three granddaughters, Larry and Jerry Fox, Wallace and Marge Wissing and Bob and Mary Tingle. Wallace was fireman and I the engineer.