Little Log House Show Captivates Young and Old

Little Log House show in Hastings, Minn., offers unique setting for old iron

| January 2013

Roll out the barrel! We’ve got the blues on the run!” A dance hall band performing on an outside stage sets the tone at the Little Log House Antique Power Show in July. From one end of the beautifully manicured grounds to the other, the prevailing mood is that of an enormous party where the guests just happen to bring their favorite collectible – tractors, engines, cars, you name it – along with them. A worker at a concession stand sums it up neatly. “If you can’t have fun,” he says with a mock stern expression, “you can’t have fun.”

Owned by Steve and Sylvia Bauer, Hastings, Minn., Little Log House Pioneer Village offers a unique look at authentically restored historical artifacts of southern Minnesota. Fifty buildings have been salvaged and moved to the grounds; most have been furnished with period relics in a very professional manner. Friendly volunteers offer insights to local history and rural traditions.

Nestled in a quiet pocket, Sylvia’s Garden offers a peaceful diversion from the hubbub of the show. Covering more than 40,000 square feet, the garden boasts countless flowers and shrubs, two ponds, a working waterwheel, brick paths and arbors. For three days each summer – the only time each year that the village is open to the public – that backdrop of local history and natural beauty sets the stage for a show celebrating traditional farm practices.

A sprawling collection

It started, as all collections do, innocently enough. As Steve Bauer helped a neighbor demolish an old house near Hastings, under the siding he discovered logs dating to 1856. Demolition work stopped; preservation began. Steve moved the structure to his farm, and he and Sylvia launched a full restoration.

One year later, on a Sunday afternoon in 1988, the Bauers hosted a threshing bee near the little log house for family and friends. Over time, the event exploded into a three-day show – the Little Log House Antique Power Show – with visitors from every corner of the U.S.

Today, in addition to that little log house, visitors roam through an engine shed, schoolhouse, print shop, millinery and dress shop, jail, telephone building, U.S. Land Office, general store, butcher shop, church, freight house, Ford garage, train depot, implement and car dealerships, 1960s diner and more. A working rock quarry, a replica of a very unusual spiral bridge and a dirt track for truck and tractor pulls more than round out the offering. Want more? There’s a car show, historic re-enactments, crafts demonstrations, a military display, threshing, well drilling, shingle branding, parades and live music. The guy at the burger stand knew what he was talking about. If you can’t have fun here, you probably can’t have fun anywhere.