Program Chairman Strum, Wisconsin 54770
A few words reporting the third annual Steam Engine Day observance held Aug. 13-14 here at Strum may be of interest. The village, about 750 population, is located in the west central part of Wisconsin, on U.S. Hwy. 10 in the Beef River valley.
Steam Engine Days, a community-wide promotion has been headed the past three years by Burnie Ness as General Chairman, all service clubs cooperating, net proceeds go into a common fund for betterment projects. No admission is charged, however the board controls and operates all concessions, a policy which requires both good administration and planning as 260 women and girls working in 4 hour shifts were required to handle the food stands on Sunday the big day.
The Power program began on Sat. at 10 A.M. with an unusual display of Minneapolis equipment. An old Minneapolis Victory separator (2170) purchased new in 1887 was operated by Elmer Everson of Blair, Wis. a son of the first owner, who really put the 32' machine to work in spite of his 74 years. It was only natural that a vintage Minneapolis steamer should furnish power so Mort Moe of Mondovi, who has operated his 25 hp engine every season since it was new in 1913 was belted up for power in a nostalgic scene. Everson stated the Victory has been shedded on the home farm since its purchase 79 years ago and that it was in use every season until 1942, a span of 55 years. The steamer according to Mr. Moe, has been operated by him in each of its 53 seasons, both are good for years of service.
As this was a predominant Case country four of these engines were on hand, Alfred Gunderson of Osseo, Ed Slabik of Whitehall, Merle Mc Cart of Mondovi and Sig Rice of Strum operated the Racine products. Besides Moe's Mpls, a Rumely owned by Geo Loomis of Mondovi, and a 30-60 Oil-pull owned by Ed Huppert of Ellsworth furnished power for Lumber sawing, a shingle Mill, fan and two grain separators. Harold Churchill of Elmwood with his steam powered drag saw and Lloyd Loomis' model steamer and sawmill drew many interested spectators. Gortons working models came in for their share of comment.
Threatening weather curtailed the Saturday afternoon show, altho a modern day tractor pulling contest on a soil cemented runway was completed before the rains came. Cancellation of an elaborate evening program resulted curtailing attendance greatly. Rains continued until Sunday at 7 A.M., Mop-up of bleacher seats began at once and by nine o'clock 7 to 800 gathered in the stands for the church service heard a rousing sermon on a frontier theme by Pastor Luther Monson.
Patches of blue sky were appearing shortly after 10 and with clearing weather came streams of autos from four directions. State and county police assisted by 38 men parking cars were busy until early afternoon handling traffic By 1:30 a crowd estimated in excess of 30,000 jammed a 14 block route for the Grande Parade with its 'Century of Change' theme. Seventy-five units, all invitational passed in review during the hour and twenty minutes allotted for this part of the program. Nearly fifty portrayed the 'Old and New' in farm operations, probably the most illustrative of the great 'Change' was provided by the threshing phase. Naturally the reaper, bundle tiers, the vintage Minneapolis machines, water wagon, twenty men as crew and a kitchen scene with three ladies as cooks furnished marked contrast to the Modern self-propelled combine and grain truck with an operator for each. Four announcers at spaced positions acquainted watchers with detail and color as the units passed. The fine St. Paul Police band concluded the parade.
Sky diving, stage acts and the regular steam show followed on congested grounds until evening. A 10 o'clock program ended the event.
We have had many favorable comments on our attempts to present the great change in farm power, operation and living. A steam program however, seems to be strictly a mans show, our committees' will plan and direct efforts toward portraying the part women played in this great phase of progress. Any suggestions are always welcome.