Rose City Threshing & Heritage Festival Keeps Blooming

By preserving the past, volunteers keep the Rose City Threshing & Heritage Festival and Minnesota man’s dream alive.

| May 2018

  • Though this Minneapolis-Moline corn sheller is in working order, it is a static display at the Rose City show.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • This potato digger is part of the Rose City display.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Joe Steinhagen working with his 1913 60 hp steam engine.
    Photo courtesy Joe Steinhagen
  • This 1924 20-40 Rumely OilPull belongs to the Rose City association.
    Photo courtesy Joe Steinhagen
  • Joe saved Harvey Danielson’s New Idea corn husker-shredder from the junk pile. It is displayed each year at the Rose City threshing show.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • No one at Rose City knows anything about this bale collector.
    Photo by Nikki Rajala
  • This Belle City thresher was originally used on Harvey Danielson’s farm.
    Photo by Nikki Rajala
  • The pump on this wagon was manufactured by Justin Mfg. Co., Chicago, Illinois.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Rear view of the pump wagon.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • The builder left his mark on this scale model steam engine.
    Photo by Bill Vossler
  • Joe’s half-scale Minneapolis steam engine.
    Photo by Bill Vossler

Every display of old iron is unique, and the Rose City Threshing & Heritage Festival of Miltona, Minnesota, is no exception. Mixed in with familiar events like threshing and shocking demonstrations are less familiar, quirky things – like potatoes free for the digging.

From its founding (a display of one man’s collection) to an inventory of odd and unusual relics (a bale collector and a well-drilling rig) to the way the event has grown (like a weed), the Rose City festival goes its own way – and makes it work.

One-man show adopted by local community

Thirty years ago, Harvey Danielson decided to start a small show on his property – a 160-acre century farm near Rose City – with exhibits showcasing his gasoline engine collection. Joe Steinhagen, Alexandria, Minnesota, a member of the show association who works closely with the summer presentation, describes what happened next.

“The next year, Harvey asked, ‘since everybody comes here anyway, why don’t we do a little bit of threshing?’ Which they did, using his Belle City thresher,” Joe says. “After that, somebody brought in horses to pull the bundle racks, and they were followed by somebody offering some tractors.”



When the work involved began to become overwhelming, volunteers came together to launch an association and the Rose City show. “Not only the association for the show,” Joe says, “but also for the legality of everything.

Next the association bought Harvey Danielson’s farm, including the house, milking barn, granary, corncribs and 80 acres of land – which might have left Harvey out in the cold. But not at Rose City. “He still needed a place to live,” Joe says, “and we knew it was also good to have someone living there, so the association just allowed him to live there. That worked out well.”