Eighteenth annual show

Content Tools

1710 Walnut Street, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania 17011.

The eighteenth annual show of the Williams Grove Historic Steam Engine Association opened Sunday, August 28 and closed Labor Day after setting another record for attendance and variety.

'More than 15,000 visitors were on hand to enjoy our Horse and Buggy Day program, Sunday, August 28,' reported Harold Scheib, association president. 'This proved to be a good indication,' he continued, 'total attendance for the eight days was just a shade higher than that in 76 which was a record year.'

The variety of steam-operated machinery and farm equipment included 36 large traction engines; 2 portables; 4 small (model); 2 steam water pumps from the Newville, Pa. Water Company; a working Corliss stationary engine; a steam crane from the Schmidt & Ault Paper Company, York, Pa., an old International truck chassis with a Huber boiler mounted for steaming tobacco beds; a big boiler to furnish steam for the Corliss and a large display of miniature steam engines of all sizes and shapes, plus a small Troy engine from the paper company in York.

Farm equipment powered by steam included various individually owned threshing machines, a sawmill, a shingle mill, a corn binder and stone crusher.

A wide variety of different makes of steam engines included the well-known Case, Minneapolis, Buffalo-Pitts, Baker, Frick, Keck-Gonnerman, Peerless, Avery, Huber, Russell and Kitten, plus accessories, such as water wagons, etc.

While steam played a leading role in the show at the once famous site of the Great Grangers Picnic, farm tractors and BE (Before Electricity) gas engines attracted the crowds also.

As a matter of fact there were more than twice as many tractors as there were steam engines, approximately 150, while gas engines on display and working totaled 125.

The variety of makes and models was truly amazing, including some very rare ones, long since forgotten except among the collectors and restorers.

Among the favorite farm tractors were the early model Fordson, International, Farmall, Massey-Harris and Oil Pulls, in addition to others manufactured in later years.

Of gas engines used on the farm and in industry there was a bewildering variety including some rarities like the Quincy, the Harrisburg, the Schmidt, in addition to better known makes like the International. The various displays included gas engine powered washing machines, churns, fodder choppers, water pumps, power saws, etc.

Another popular attraction was the old-time steam passenger train, operating on its own private trackage, adjacent to the Dillsburg Branch of the former Cumberland Valley Railroad, which had served the Grove during the long tenure of the Grangers exhibition.

Powered by a Class B-4 locomotive, built by the Pennsylvania Railroad in its Altoona Shops, in 1901, the train consisting of cars purchased from the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad years ago provided a nostalgic ride for the older folks and a genuine thrill for those who have never before ridden behind steam.

Other displays and demonstrations included an old-time butcher shop where 25 hogs were butchered and processed during the show. The rendering of lard, the making of scrapple and sausage and meat cutting all taking place on the premises before interested spectators, who later are able to purchase the freshly prepared meat for their own use. Some of this meat is also used in the Ladies Auxiliary old fashioned kitchen in the preparation of meals for members, or the public, facilities which recently have been enlarged and improved since last year.

Another facet of the show is the threshing of grain harvested from the association's own acreage, and that belonging to members. The threshing machines are powered, at different times by steam traction engines, or tractors, and the old-time hand-feeding method is used, much to the interest and education of the spectators.

A permanently erected sawmill on the grounds also powered by individually owned traction engines, or tractors, saws up trees harvested from a wood lot leased by the association. The lumber is then used for erecting new buildings, or repairing and altering existing ones.

There was never a dull moment at the show, for in addition to the above, visitors could enjoy a hay ride behind a team of oxen, visit the museum where antique farm home furnishings were on display in addition to tools of various sorts used by farm workers of yesteryear and a huge operating model railroad complete with scenery including villages, a trolley car and freight and passenger trains.

If one so desired they could purchase a sunbonnet like grandmother used to wear, a handmade apron, or a beautifully executed patchwork quilt, plus other items at the Ladies Auxiliary pavilion.

Souvenirs of the show were available at the association's souvenir stand, where copies of the annual association bulletin and other publications such as a history of the Grove and its association with the Dillsburg and Mechanicsburg Railroad were on sale.

Daily parades of engines, tractors, and other equipment were also attraction drawers, as were the static displays of farm equipment used in another day and generation.

The popularity and success of this year's annual show is attributed to the many long hours of hard work, unselfishly contributed by the many member-volunteers under the supervision of President Harold Schieb, and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Galen Brandt, plus Mrs. Scheib and members of the Ladies Auxiliary.

Association membership, as reported by Dennie Van Scycoc, membership secretary, totaled more than 1300 at the conclusion of the show.