155 W. Cross Street, Clarksville, Michigan 48815
Clarksville? Where is that! They say they have a steam show there and that you get off exit 59 off J 96 and follow signs. Sure enough you come to a big sign that points west over the hills (five of them) to where the rail is off the fence and turn right into a grain field where you park.
Everybody is walking toward an opening in the woods the other side of the little white building. After we have purchased our tickets and are walking along the road through the woods we can hear the bark of the steam engines on the sawmill. As we come out into the field we are surrounded on three sides with woods. We walk past the cook shanty and tent with picnic tables where the Lakewood Christian School is serving barbecue sandwiches and homemade pie!
As we head for the sawmill powered with two steam engines, Marv Blough's 18 HP Keck Gonnerman and Graham Sellers' 25 HP Nichols and Shepard, Jim Blough is at the controls of the mill. The logs are fed onto the carriage by an endless chain, then the logs are turned and dogged by hydraulic and when the boards come off the saw they fall on a belt that drops down the slide where two men stack lumber and cast aside the slabs. While that is going on, they are getting ready to thresh with a 19-65 Port Huron engine and 28' Red River separator. Before you get to the threshing you find a 'B' J.D. sawing wood with Gerald Seese's drag saw. There was also Bernard Woodmansee's little Case engine. Al Willison and Phil Seese are doing a little silo filling with a W. C. Allis Chalmers tractor. Tom Christener is trying to get his old International straw baler going. The little gas engine is running steady pumping water for all the thirsty people as well as providing water for the 12 steam engines. There are other gas engines also. There are some 130 tractors ranging from two 20-40 HP pulls to Jerry's 8 HP J.D. lawn mower. Al Willison had a 25 HP L.P. gas engine set on a truck chassis and could move around the ground on its own power.
When you get up the other side there are the cub scouts selling lemonade and bratwurst sandwiches. You can stop next door and get homemade ice cream to eat while you watch the ladies do 'fleece to shawl.' They card the wool, then spin and weave it into a shawl. Some ladies were quilting. Each afternoon there was a parade of most of the things that had wheels or could be moved.
Friday night at 5:30 p.m. there was a pig-roast.
Each evening they belted up steam engines to the fan. Tom Christener started popping corn in the big iron kettle and passed out popcorn in little brown bags. M-mmmm good!
Now it is dark so the spark show starts, but wait here are some bangs which are not in sawdust, but firecrackers that someone tied next to the smokestack and the sparks set them off.
Around noon on Saturday the biggest black cloud started moving in from the west, so we thought we came the wrong day, but guess what! It only sprinkled here, though we learned later that a mile and half south they got hail stones the size of golf balls and it didn't do the corn any good. Since the moon was coming up we decided we should depart for home.
It sure was nice to see people from other states as well as the hometown people and we are all invited back next year to help the Clarksville Steam and Gas Association celebrate their sixth show.
We want to thank all the people who helped make our day a success as well as the folks who came to see the show. And by the way, the next Clarksville Steam Show will be 18-20 of August 1995.