Scale Model Gateway to Tractor Show

A scale model St. Louis Gateway Arch leads to family fun at tractor show

| November 1999

Walk under the arch, and you might reasonably expect to find yourself in St. Louis, visiting one of the Midwest's prime attractions. But tread under this arch, and you'll actually be travelling back in time, at the Country Days Antique Tractor and Stationary Engine Show in Godfrey, Ill.

The entry to the Country Days show in June was easy to find, situated as it is beneath a scale model replica of the St. Louis Gateway Arch. The portable arch was built 10 years ago by club member Jim Weiman. Almost all show visitors walked through the arch, flanked on both sides by John Deere Lindeman crawlers. The visitors stopped to gawk and check out the arch from all angles. Even under close inspection, the arch's weld seams remained invisible.

Made of stainless steel, the arch was built in a horizontal wood stanchion originally used to hold cattle. The 1/30th scale model consumed 304 feet of stainless steel, and weighs about 450 pounds. Unbelievably, the arch can be dismantled in less than an hour, and fits easily in the back of a pickup. An endless project to construct? Not really.

"It took six weeks to make it," says Jim, who lives in nearby rural Brighton, Ill., where he raises registered Hereford cattle on what he calls his "hobby farm."

"I work for an aviation company, and we were going to an air convention in Atlanta," he said. "We wanted something no one else had, and we wanted them to identify us with our East Alton, Ill., location."

Since Jim was part of the Country Days Antique Association, his employer – Premier Air – allowed him to use the arch at the show. This year's show had a theme of plows. In addition to the arch, Jim brought a 110-year-old plow to the show. The plow, which was purchased new by his grandfather, Philip Weiman, was used on Jim's grandfather's farm, and later, his father's farm. It is a family heirloom, one that Jim has lovingly restored.