Jackson Harvester

Steam engine days at Strum, Wisconsin. This is a Jackson Harvester in action.

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Strum, Wisconsin 54770

A few lines regarding the Fourth Annual Steam Engine Day observance held at Strum on last Aug 11-12-13th may be of interest. We are located on Highway 10 in the Beef River Valley of west central Wisconsin.

Beautiful weather marked the event again this year bringing crowds beyond any previous attendance. The program began on Friday afternoon with a modern - day tractor pulling contest on a soil cemented drive; at the same time steamers owned by Mort Moe, Geo. Loomis, Merle McCart, Archie Stevens, Harold Churchill, Lloyd Loomis, Alfred Gunderson, Sig Rice and Louis Slabic began flexing their pressures on the usual steam show equipment. Elmer Everson of Blair, Wis. was again on hand with the 32' 1887 Minneapolis 'Victory' separator, owned by his family since purchased new 80 years ago. Many old timers renewed acquaintances while awaiting a turn at the feed table. A coronation ceremony sponsored by the ladies Civic Club took place during the evening.

'Steam Engine' Joe Rynda arrived late Friday from Montgomery, Minn. and brought his 1878 10 HP Aultman-Taylor Eureka 'Sunflower'. Joe arose early Saturday morning, had steam up and shortly after day-break his mockingbird whistle let all 700 villagers and the country side know the show was on.

The regular program began at 10, continuing thru the day, with a heavy class tractor pull, a downtown Kiddies parade with the theme American history and Happenings, sky diving and free attractions interspersed.

The valley of the Reviere Des Beauf, as the French named it 300 years ago, produces some of the finest red oak in America and this year the committee in charge were very fortunate in their choice of logs, and sawyer. Gerry Moe, a top operator, had his Jackson Harvester slab off clear red oak boards twelve to fourteen feet long at a feed speed which kept the engines really working. Attendance numbered several thousand throughout the afternoon and most were on hand for an evening stage show, featuring the Edelweiss Stars, a group of Swiss folk singers from New Glarus, Wis. who presented an excellent program.

Sunday dawned bright and clear and over 1500 attended a 9 o'clock Worship Service conducted by Rev. Luther Monson of Strum Lutheran, supported by organ and a full choir. The steam show commenced at 10:30 continuing until noon with crowds pouring in. A conservative estimate of 35-40,000 spectators were on hand at 1:30 when 'Steam-Engine' Joe as Grand Marshall of the festival Parade led sixty-five selected units down the packed route. The wooden-wheeled 'Sunflower' was a big attraction and well received with hundreds of cameras recording its presence. Area city, village, industrial and commercial floats were acknowledged in the fore part of this event with the 'Century of Change' pageant featuring projections from each decade of the last century occupying the last portion. The hour and twenty minute program had a real nostalgic finale for many - a six mule hitch on an old circus calliope, with Mrs. Juanita Beck of LaCrosse, at the console. Many followed several blocks to hear the old circus fanfare and marches.

The steam program continued until dusk with a 10 o'clock closing ceremony.

A real attraction at the Strum show was the 'Beef River Flyer', a steam train purchased early this year from Henry McMillan of Galva, III. The little 'puffer-belly' operated at capacity all days with an unusual number of adults riding behind steam again. The 'Flyer' operates in the river park every week-end and holidays during the summer months.

The 1968 event is scheduled for Aug 9-10-11 with plans for a more diversified program and at least one new attraction. We also wish to express appreciation for the space given the announcement of our show in your very interesting ALBUM.

The club printed 3,000 twenty-eight page programs selling at 35 cents which was well received, only a couple of hundred remaining at this time.