Resident of Antique Acres
About a week after the show, I found myself sitting on the steps of the deserted bandstand. Looking out at the few idle pieces of machinery still left on the parade grounds, the stillness was almost suffocating. I pushed away the thoughts of the long cold winter months yet ahead and allowed only the memories of the past summer to slowly creep in.
Had it really been five months since that 'freak' snowstorm of April 9th? With the completion of sowing the oats, April 7th, the Acres assumed that spring was officially here. But it's a well known fact that 'changing her mind' is a woman's prerogative and perhaps that is why it's called Mother Nature. Even more surprising than the snow, was the phone call that morning from the Acres' President, Andrew J. Fischels of Waterloo, Iowa, not inquiring, as usual, to the depth of the snow on the snow fence, but informing us that this time he had a ringside seat from his 'summer' home at the Acres. Assuring us that he wouldn't have missed this for the world, we sat back to listen while he relived other similar blizzards in his life-time, (with perhaps the exception of the snowmobiles whizzing by our front door). By the third day, the highway was cleared; and beginning to run low supplies, we hastily shoveled the 100 feet to freedom. And from the cheers when our feet finally touched the asphalt, you would have thought we'd journeyed clean across Alaska. So began the spring of '73.
With the election of officers the first part of the year, by spring there's a whole boiler full of ideas ready to burst forth and be heard. 1973 officers were Andrew J. Fischels of Waterloo, Iowa, President, Cliff Johnston of Cedar Falls, Iowa, Vice-President, and Harold Pries of Bremer, Iowa, Sec-Treas. They certainly know their business and with the back-up of a good Board of Directors, ideas were turned into accomplishments.
The members proudly display their new building they erected this summer. It's 32' by 58' measurements, plus cement flooring, makes an excellent building for exhibitors during the show and storage during the winter months. Mr. Harold Pries drew up the plans and supervised the constructing, which was done by various stockholders of the corporation. Mr. Don Gibbons of Waterloo, Iowa did an excellent job with the wiring. Bulk heads of our quansit buildings were used for the sides and the red elm cross rafters were sawed and plained here at the Acres, greatly cutting down expense. New sheet metal and ready-made rafters were purchased for the roof. A duplicate building is on the 'Improvement Ideas List' for '74.
Due to the multitude of electrical outlets necessary during the show, it was voted to up-grade the electrical system from 200 amps to 500 amps. New outlets were installed to accommodate more campers, with 100 amp lines going to each camper outlet. And with the campers almost doubled this year, it was greatly needed. Mr. John Ruth of Waverly, Iowa, built up the outlets and also installed part of the service. The balance of the work was completed by a contractor. The new electrical system also aided in the output from the Acres' Office-Sound Room and it was greatly essential, as it took on the effect of a radio station this summer. Additional music producing equipment was supplied by Mr. John Ruth; and controls to switch instantly from microphone to any other piece of equipment was installed. Mr. John Ruth, Mr. Bob Fischels of Cedar Falls, Iowa, and Mr. Clair Bohan, electrician for H & H Machine Tool Co. of Cedar Falls, Iowa, installed the equipment and arranged the ground speakers for a more effective system. The Sound Room took a full-time PA operator to function properly, but after taping the plug sheet, inserting a musical tape cassette, and putting a record on the spindle for future use, it wasn't so much the energy put forth, but the knowledge of just which button to push. Well, perhaps it involved a little more than that. Mastering the controls the first two days of the show was Mr. James Van Nice, receiving his electronics training in the U.S. Navy, now stationed in Italy. He's one of our distant members and was present this year with his new bride. Mr. Bohan took over the last two days. They did a superb job in one of the more intricate aspects of producing a good show.
Mr. Andrew Fischels restored the bandstand this summer with a new roof, banisters, and paint job. And adorned with banners, it certainly looked official!
Since lettering isn't my only occupation, the closest I got to a paint brush this summer was lettering the new billboard and show-date signs. But the paint fumes are already beginning to penetrate, as jobs for next year are being added to the list.
Advertising was again heavily accented this year with new show bills and brochures of the Acres being sent out all over the nation and handed out at our summer museum. The 1973 show buttons featured a 110 Case and an aerial view of Antique Acres topped off the new stationery.
Adding a little fun to the work, Antique Acres attended various centennials and events in our surrounding area. Supporting the Acres at the Oelwein, Iowa Centennial was Mr. & Mrs. John Sundermeyer of Readlyn, Iowa, with their 1929 Cadillac V8; John Ruth's float consisting of old-time washing machines, gas engines, and even a well-pump, hooked up and working, the float was complete with Mrs. Ruth, in full pioneer attire; and a Waterloo Boy tractor owned by Kenny Cass of Dunkerton, Iowa. At the Dysart Centennial, Mr. Andrew Fischels brought home a trophy in the miscellaneous division with his Rumely 16-30 Oil Pull; while the Ruth's float took the trophy for 1st prize in that division. The Ruth's float also attended the Trayer Centennial and the Waverly Rediculous Days.
Since variety's the spice of life, and also believing in getting the most for your money, a heavier breed of chicks was chosen to adorn the Acres' grounds this year, compliments of Robert Fischels. As they were purchased early in the spring, before the summer residents moved in, I was elected chief cook and bottle warmer. And I'm proud to say, Mother and babes came through with flying colors, all 25 of them. Taking my job a little too seriously, I vowed these darling little balls of fluff would never grace a table where I was present. But by the time September rolled around and those red felons had delighted themselves more than once on stripping my tomato and cucumber patch, I had no trouble whatsoever looking them straight in the eye and visualizing them sizzling away in the fry pan. But they had their revenge right to the end, those blasted pin-feathers! We also had one Bantam rooster and three hens which resulted in 27 baby chicks. So our freezers are filled with vittles.
The Acres, consisting of 80 acres, was purchased for the nature of the soil sandy. It can rain all night, but still will not prevent a show from being put on the next day. With proper fertilization, it is used as an overall farm operation. Besides the 35 acres of oats, corn is also grown, this year 28 acres. Although the high moisture this summer prevented meeting the exceptionally good crop of 72, with the high corn prices, it turned out better than anticipated. The crops aid towards putting on a bigger and better show each year.
About the time you think you're never going to meet the busy schedule and be ready for the first day of the show, members and friends appear from all directions, machinery is lined up on the grounds, and everything falls into place.
The Kruger Clan from Columbia, Missouri, in their newly painted bus camper, christened 'The Kruger Country Club', arrived again in the wee hours, but this year a little quieter, (due to a new muffler). They again brought friends, the Persinger family, and both families gave it their all. Jerry Rottinghaus also hitched a ride and continued riding through the whole show, as he again found himself official water-wagon boy.
If you happened to meet a bus camper heading towards Iowa with a New Jersey accent, you'll know it's the Ray Fischels' family. Ray can almost always be found glued to the Fischels and Sons' Wood Bros. Steam Engine & Wood Bros. Hummingbird Threasher. He gave his stamp of approval on the engine as he found the newly rebuilt throttle and governor really gave it snap. Celebrating their wedding anniversary, and admitting he usually forgot, he was prevented from making that mistake this year, as he found their bus decorated that morning with about anything available. So much for feeble excuses!
Out-of-state helpers you can always depend on include, Mr. Arnie Slynde of Lyle, Minnesota, operating the Smolik Bros.' 40-140 Reeves Compound Steam Engine; and Mr. George Hedke of Davis Junction, Illinois, operating the Smolik Bros.' 110 Case. With Ray Smolik doing the steering, the Reeves, believed to be the largest and only one left in existence today, hooked up to the Smolik Bros.' John Deere 14 bottom plow and really performed. Plowing was also done with the 110 Case, Ray Smolik steering, and the 14 bottom John Deere plow; and by Roy Harper with his four bottom 16' plow, averaging 3 mph. So, following the daily parades, spectators were given a variation in the plowing division this year. Roy Harper, with his duo, and John Sundermeyer, with his Minneapolis Moline Tractor, completed the plowing this fall.
Good friends and always a great help are Mr. and Mrs. Art Robinson of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Mrs. Robinson is always ready and willing to lend a hand in the Acres souvenior booth; and Art inevitably draws a crowd around his display each year. This time he brought with him a 1-3/4' scale model of one of the first John Deere Power Balers and a 1-3/4 ' scale model of a Canadian standard gas engine. Art also runs his shingle saw, giving out slabs for souveniors.
Almost a permanent fixture around the Acres is friend Frank Williams of Finch ford, Iowa. He lends a hand with the shocking of oats, threshing, sawmill, and is all-around handyman. He also exhibits his Allis Chalmers tractor and buzz saw at the show.
Insuring himself more free time this year, Mr. Fischels appointed a Show and Parade Committee consisting of Mr. Lou Kruger, Mr. John Ruth, Mr. Derwood Heine of Bremer, Iowa, and Mr. Bernard Skillen of Waterloo, Iowa. They did a great job keeping the events moving and lining up the parade each day. And Mr. Kruger's jeep saved many tired steps.
Always game for trying new ways of improvement, the Acres presented continuous movement in their parades this year. This shortened the parade time considerably and left more time for other activities. Mr. Shelby Bellinger of La Porte City, Iowa, served as MC again this year and I assisted with the parade cards and tagging the machinery. Each parade was headed off with as many complete steam engine and threshing machine rigs as possible. These included the Fischels & Sons' 18 H.P. Wood Bros. Steam Engine and 30-56 Wood Bros. Hummingbird Thresher, a complete Iowa rig; a 20 H.P. Case Steam Engine, completely restored in '72, owned by Randy Schwerin of Sumner, Iowa, pulling a Case Separator with slat stacker, owned by A. J. Lindeman of Waterloo, Iowa; and the Acres' 22 H.P. Avery Undermount Steam Engine (complete with live mascot, compliments of Bill Fritze of Oelwein, Iowa) pulling A. J. Lindeman's 36-58 Avery Yellow Fellow Separator. Other steam engines featured in the parade was a 16 H.P. Reeves Double Cylinder Simple, owned by John Sundermeyer; a 20 H.P. Minneapolis and a 20 H.P. Advance Rumely 'Universal', both owned by Shelby Bellinger and son, Dean, of Waterloo, Iowa; a 22-70 Rumely Thresher Engine, a Phoenix Log Hauler, the 110 Case, and the 40-140 Reeves Steam Engine pulling the John Deere 14 bottom plow, all owned by the Smolik Bros, of Osage, Iowa. Since they are a vital asset in the operation of a steam engine, we 'snuck' a couple water-wagons in next. These were E. B. Crowell's pulled by the John Ruth 1936 Case R C Model tractor and Bernard Skillen's Avery pulled by his Case tractor. Looking like a miniature steam engine was the Townsend Oil Tractor, owned by A. J. Fischels and Mr. John Sundermeyer. You were allowed an instant replay into the history of machinery as the more than fifty various years and makes of tractors were paraded, These makes included John Deere, Case, Massey Harris, Allis Chalmers, Farmall, Minneapolis Moline, Galloway, McCormick Deering, and Hart Parr. Owning a greater share of these, are Derwood Heine, primarily a Farmall man Bernard Skillen, various makes Harold Pries, Minneapolis Moline collection, Cliff Johnston, various makes, and A. J. Lindeman, Johr Deere collection. Many of these pulled various pieces of farm machinery. Along with this line-up, four beautifully restored tractors were brought in by friends; a Farmall F-20, owned and restored by Steve Sage of Denver, Iowa, for a 4-H project; a 1929 Case CC restored by Steve Sage of Denver Iowa, and a shop project at school; a Massey Harris Challengei restored in 1972 by owner Roger Beason of Lynnville, Iowa; and a John Deere 1935 Model A restored and owned by Roger Beason. Mr. Harry Roeder of Bellevue, Iowa exhibited his 20-35 oil pull; A. J. Fischels paraded his 16-30 Rumely oil pull; and the remaining six belonged to Mr. Stuart Fenton of Waterloo, Iowa. A Rumely Model Oil Pull built in 1966, 5 H.P., was brought in by Howard and Irene Schultz of Wausan, Wisconsin. So, this collection should offer something for everyone.
Again, one of the main attractions for all ages was the threshing operation. And to make it even more interesting, not only the engines, but tractors as well, participated. Besides the Fishels' Wood Bros. Steam Engine, John Sundermeyer's Reeves Steam Engine and John's Minneapolis Farm Motor, (restoring completed this year with a new cab, built and painted by the Harold Pries family), and Derwood Heine's McCormick Deering W30 took their turns at threshing with the Fischels' Wood Bros. Hummingbird Thresher. Plans for next year are to have two complete setups for threshing, enabling more machinery to participate. Putting the icing on the cake, baling was done after each load threshed. A Case wire-tie baler, owned by Derwood Heine and Harold Pries, and a Case CC, owned by Steve Sage, started the procedure each time, with John Sundermeyer's New Holland baler and Minneapolis tractor finishing up the job.
Six acres were saved for threshing and baling during the show, and all six acres were threshed and baled, so it really kept the boys a hoppin', especially since it chose to rain them out on Thursday. Most of the shocks were loaded and stored in the sheds until show-time, but a few loads were left in the fields to be loaded during the show days. This gave a more authentic effect of threshing days and allowed visitors a view of the total operation.
It seemed that Halloween came a little early to the Acres, as the Gremlins made nightly raids, specializing on the steam engines and their engineers. One of our top engineers from Illinois found it a little difficult to fire-up one morning, between the blanket stuffed in his chimney and the water in his fuel can. And by the time he figured out just what was wrong, he'd missed breakfast and had to drive way into town to eat. It just wasn't his day. Others found tools hidden, cabs completely circled with twine or tissue, engine wheels tied together, a blood-shot eye on the logger, (perhaps from all the polluted air?), and even engineers tied in tents. One engineer, from New Jersey, took precautions and chained his engine up one night, but then forgot where he put the key. To add salt to their wounds, Mr. Bohan ran a tape on all of their misfortunes to the public each day. Thanks to the Gremlins, we had engineers all over the place, at the crack of dawn, preparing their engines for that days' show.
On the brighter side, and perhaps an aid in soothing those ruffled engineers, the Acres presented live music from two outstanding groups. A gospel group of young adults from the KNWS Radio Station, a mid-American inspirational network station of Waterloo, Iowa. They did a beautiful job entertaining daily and on Sunday afternoon performed on the bandstand, 16 in all, plus musical equipment. The other group hailed from the Huisman's Music Store of Parkersburg, Iowa. They featured an assortment of string instruments and proudly stated that they were all in their 70's and loved every minute of it. We hope both groups will be back at our '74 show.
Everyone was on their toes and looking pretty, as a local photographer made the rounds during the show. He got some terrific shots and some will appear on the new postcards at the Acres' souvenior booth next year.
Speaking of pretty pictures, that's just what it was when the Smoliks' two huge engines, the 110 Case and the 140 Reeves, teamed up side-by-side and hooked up to the Baker Fan and the Proney Brake. They really sat there and purred. There seemed to be a steady flow of engines and tractors all four days, waiting there turn to hook up and feed their masters' egos. Lou Kruger is in charge of operating the Proney Brake.
The gas engine line-up seems to grow yearly and there's promise of additional ones for '74 already. The largest number displayed are owned by E. B. Crowell, Waterloo, Iowa, John Ruth, Derwood Heine, Cliff Johnston, and Don Gibbons, Waterloo, Iowa. Outside exhibitors include Kenny Cass of Dunkerton, Iowa, with a very rare Crabb engine; Bob Buck of Grundy Center, Iowa; six belonging to Harold Beason of Lynnville, Iowa; eight belonging to Glenn Boggess of Charles City, Iowa; and a nice selection owned by Merles C. Soules of Jesup, Iowa, including a John Deere 3 H.P., an Ottawa cut-off saw complete with Ottawa gas engine, and he also brought a Massey Harris tractor and a Birdsell Clover Hauler. Donated to Antique Acres this fall and delivered by Ray Fischels was a 1 1/2 H.P. International gas engine, donated by Quinton Baker of Salem, New Jersey. This engine will receive a new paint job and lettering for the next show.
A little farther down the line is the lumber division, where there is action from every angle. Mr. Leonard Flynn of Toledo, Iowa was present to operate the sawmill owned by Stuart Fenton of Waterloo, Iowa, who lent a helping hand, along with Mr. Cleo Howard of Dike, Iowa. The engines that powered the mill were the Acres' Avery, the Smolik's Rumely, and the Bellinger's Rumely. Art Robinson with his scale model shingle saw and Cliff Johnston with his regular size shingle saw put out a heap of cedar shingles. They sure won't have to worry about those pesky moths! Don Gibbons exhibited his Ottawa drag cut-off saw operated from power take-off. This is attached to his John Deere B tractor and he demonstrated its use cutting slabs.
John Sundermeyer's really been putting that Jolly Gray Giant of his, (his Minneapolis Farm Motor), to the test this year. Besides the threshing, he's hooked it up to the Proney Brake and did better than in '72, and even belted up to the sawmill to prove that it would hold its own.
Honorable mention goes to the collection of threshers, corn shellers, feed mills, and corn grinders belonging to A. J. Lindeman; and, also, to the large amount of horsedrawn equipment owned by Cleo Howard.
New equipment this year included an International disc plow, rarely used in this area, owned by John Sundermeyer; and a Waterloo Boy tractor owned by A. J. Lindeman, purchased from Forrest Huer, Cedar Falls, Iowa. These will be completely restored for the next show.
Antique automobiles owned by members were John Sundermeyer's 1929 Cadillac V8 and Harold Pries' 1927 Erskine 6 cylinder. These are restored like new.
The ladies were spared the task of preparing supper one evening, as they stuffed their husbands and children with the sweet corn furnished by the Persinger family. It was cooked in a cast iron kettle, heated by the Wood Bros. Steam Engine. Delicious!!
To the delight of the young, and perhaps the relief of the not so young, Pokey Pete offered a tour of the Acres.
The new building didn't quite hold all of the exhibitors that were here to sell, trade, chat, and join in the fun. Specializing in antique dishes were, Henry Kaiser of Ionia, Iowa, Gordon Wilson of Haines City, Florida, Frank Lansing of Haines City, Florida, Dottie Tobin of Charles City, Iowa, Lavonne's Dug-Out of Waverly, Iowa, and Beverly Egbers of Uehling, Nebraska. Dan Gibbons was here with a wide variety of antiques, Waterloo, Iowa; Milford Kelvig of Waterloo, Iowa, offered a variety of wooden bird houses for those feathered friends; Bob Gray of Eldora, Iowa had an assortment of toy tractors; Harold Ashley of Randalia, Iowa, featured decoupage pictures; Diane Trumbauer of Denver, Iowa, had a display of hobby crafts; Car Newman of Rockford, Iowa, with a big selection of flea market items; a beautiful display of handmade horses and wagons by Richard and Ray Eighmey of Waterloo, Iowa; tractor decals by Jack Maple of Rushville, Indiana; Dora Buss was in charge of the Minnesota Woolen Mills booth, she's from Evansdale, Iowa; Glenn Reed of Evansdale Iowa, with his honey sales; Reeves Woodworking of Waverly, Iowa, an interesting display as he showed you the entire procedure, step by step; and our own Acres' ladies offering about anything in the line of good used clothing and items at their huge rummage show. It was really a good variety of exhibitors this year.
Between the excellent variety they offer and the exceptional business they do, I think the Acres had better consider expanding their souvenir booth next year. Their assortment of magazines include current and back issues of the Engineers and Engines, Iron-Men Album, and Gas Engines, subscriptions are available. They also offer a good variety written on these ages, including cookbooks, a big seller. Souvenir items are aplenty with jewelry, watch-fobs, engineer caps, Antique Acres T-shirts, and handmade items for the ladies. Something for everyone! And to add to all of this, there's a second souvenir booth offering ceramics and handmade items, with Mrs. John Ruth in charge. Whether it was meal time or just in-between snacks, the eating tent was well occupied. This was again managed by the very capable Kentucky Fried Chicken establishment.
And so, we come to the closing of the show, sad, but essential. Although rainy weather greeted us the first day and a half of the show, blue skies lead to a happy ending. We bid tearful goodbyes and receive promises of return trips for the '74 show. We're left with only our memories of a good and fulfilling show.
And now, I sit and gaze at the imprints in the sand track, soon to be vanished by the coming weather, the slate wiped clean for another year. But already ideas are popping for the '74 show, and leave it to the Acres to come up with the unexpected!