Trooping on to my next show of the summer landed me in Connecticut with one of my favorite travel companions, editor of Farm Collector, Leslie McManus. We walked through the show of the Quinebaug Valley Engine Association show in Colchester. Just our luck, the eastern states were experiencing a heat wave so I didn’t really get a reprieve from hot and humid Kansas temperatures. This show is held on the grounds of the Zagray Farm Museum, which has quite a neat history.
A long time advertiser and a past president of the club, Mark Maikshilo of Mark’s Magneto (see his ads in Farm Collector and Gas Engine Magazine) gave Leslie and I a guided tour of the grounds. We saw the Machine Shop which houses lathes, drill presses and machinery that has been restored back to working condition. Even handwriting on the walls of the shop, written by one of the three bachelor brothers who owned the farm and have since passed away. Calculations and scrawlings of a hard working creative mind.
The Zagray Brothers had quite a collection of machinery, with an affinity toward Farmall F-20 and Farmall regular tractors. We walked to the spot where the club members work a huge line up of construction equipment.
And we saw some of the Farmalls still hanging out amongst the trees.
Around 46 were found in various states of disassembly when the club started to clear through the property. They have kept the rest of these tractors intending to bring several back to running condition. I even got to try my hand at running this Northwestern steam shovel with the help my new friend, George Jarvis!
The QVEA club had been granted a lease by Harry Zagray, along with a bill of sale for all personal property. On Dec. 9, 2001, as the QVEA work party cleared through the piles of iron treasures, Mark, the club President at that time, discovered under an old sink and some canvas, a metal ammo box. Opening it up he called other club members over to find almost $55,000 in cash in the box. The estate got the cash, but gave the club a finder’s fee, which included over 400 freshly minted and wrapped $2 bills that had been found in the box. The $2 bills are now offered to individuals interested in owning a part of the historic Zagray Farms and contributing to its ongoing development as a farm museum.
Many dedicated volunteers give their time and efforts to see the heritage of the Zagray Farms, old iron of the area and their club preserved. See their website at www.qvea.org, or read about them in this article from the Farm Collector archive.
They hold several shows a year so check it out and see if you can make it to one or two!
I usually try to mention a fun food find at the shows. They had some great homemade ice cream which is always a must do. But we discovered a favorite spot just off the grounds in Colchester called Harry’s Place. Oh boy…the ice cream and the Lobster Rolls…three words…To Die For!! 🙂
See you down the Road!