In August 1963 we spent three enjoyable days at the Neil Miller
show West of Alden, Iowa, and were impressed by the old fashioned
hospitality extended to their many friends.
The help enjoys the meals as they were in days of yore. The wash
tub and basins, the towels hanging around on the windmill tower and
the first and second table. The usual ambition was to make the
first table but the second table was in order for those who never
are on time for dinner at home!
There is plenty of shade and one does not tire from walking long
distances, as most show features are close in. The ladies excel in
pro viding good food at the canteen. We always find at the same
spot, Orin G. Seavers who has books and magazines that we like to
read. He also likes to keep the Merry Go Round engine rolling, pull
on the whistle cord and give out with the Army calls on his bugle!
The show would not be complete without Mr. Seavers, so thanks,
Mr. Neil Miller is a busy man but will take time out for a good
joke or to talk about the engines. He loves to work hard to put on
a good show which is growing up to a very fine show. An exhibition
building is erected to house many fine showpieces. Fifteen steam
engines of several makes were under steam and additional engines
are being restored so that a larger and better show will be in
store for us in 1964.
There were many tractors and gas engines. Neil owns the
machinery for this show which lists it among the large private
Time does bring a good show to an end so after the boards were
placed on the engine stacks, the engineers had spun their last yarn
and autos came to life for the trip home, we regretfully bid
farewell to the Miller ‘Engine Farm’ to travel to another
Now we were ready for the Threshermen’s Field Days sponsored
by the Black Hawk Steam Engine Club, five miles north of Cedar
Falls, Iowa. Here we found many friends, warm hospitality and a
fine bunch of fellows. There was plenty of room for the show and
for car parking. The soil is somewhat sandy which permits quick
resumption of show features after a shower. Food was excellent,
served by a large staff of willing and accommodating workers.
One impressive feature was the large engines of sixteen horse
power and over. This can be rightfully called the Iowa Land of the
Giants. There was the Reeves Cross Compound of 40-150 H.P. weighing
25 ton empty and 32 ton with coal and water. Also 100 H.P. Phoenix
Log Hauler which is almost exclusive to this show. A 100 H.P. Case
Plow engine is available. Also some very rare Engines were under
steam here. In operation were many old tractors of various, makes
and over fifty gas engines.
Parade of these fine show pieces was held each afternoon. A
Tractor pulling contest was held that was great attraction for all
and gave the boys a chance to demonstrate what their favorite
tractor could do.
We are informed that this show will be on larger location, just
adjoining the location of 1963, so indications point to a very good
show in 1964. As Labor Day drew to a close, engineers were running
their engines around to get the utmost out of being with their
‘Iron Horse’ and as the engines were slowly giving up their
spirit and energy the kids came in to their own by tooting those
Time was short so we traveled part of the night to attend the
Midwest Old Threshers and Settlers Reunion at Mt. Pleasant. This
show is well known to many of us and one is amazed at the great
magnitude of this show, but unlike the less extensive shows, one
cannot be there for just one day to see all. For several years we
stayed for the full time and in 1963, were detained on the grounds
and astonished by features we had missed. Yes, Iowa has good shows
to bring back memories of the past. The shows are well announced in
advance. Do plan to attend, it is one of the best ways to drop the
cares of this modern life so as to enjoy a real vacation.