Farm Collector

ACQUIRING A MINNEAPOLIS ENGINE

Mendon, Utah

This 1915 vintage of 19 hp. direct flue, was almost on top of
the mountain separating the valley of Cashe from the famous Bear
Lake valley.

This engine was used on the now abandoned gold mine about 25
years ago to operate the hoist. Prior to that time it had its
regular runs threshing and had done some ploughing. Late October
had already done damage to late vegetation and a light fall of snow
covered the mountains. The deer hunting season was on. I had been
given a few hasty directions as to where to find this engine. I
made the mistake of taking the wrong ravine. I continued on, higher
and higher up the narrow and rough Canyon road. Finally I
encountered a foot of snow in the narrow cut with perpendicular
sides. Whizzing bullets from the hunters added no pleasure to the
situation. My only alternative was to back down as there was no
place to turn. I backed out of the snow to a little opening that
gave a beautiful view to the green coil of Bear Lake with
October’s sun reflecting.

However, I was not so much interested in the scenery as I was in
getting down the Canyon. With plenty of flat rocks around I built a
turn table for the rear wheels of the Plymouth to roll on. Inch by
inch I cramped the car. The slightest miss move would have sent us
down the steep precipice of 200 feet. I also prayed as I was
accustomed to in such predicaments. My prayers were answered as I
finally headed the 50 Model down the Canyon. I came to a little
flat and a lone hunter told me I was 50 rods from the engine but I
would have to go down to the forks of the road and take the right
hand fork.

The red wheels and the smoke stack I first sighted filled my
bosom with rapture. One of the ‘Great Minneapolis Lines’
products I’d so of times in youth parused in the Annual
Catalog. How my heart throbbed with joy as I veiwed the object of
my search. Mr. Parker, the owner, was there arranging for its
transport. Recalling the experience of the past hour, I said,
‘How in the world are we going to get it down to the
highway.

‘I drove it up here on its own power,’ Mr. Parker said.
It seemed impossible with rocky sidling and sharp turns, steep and
narrow places. The 18 hp. Minneapolis had actually climbed the
difficult heights with Mr. Parker’s able control some 25 years
previous. However, the vandals had broken off all protruding pipes,
brasses and some cast parts rendering the faithful servant unable
to function before necessary repairs could be had.

With a caterpillar tractor we started descending from the 8,000
ft. elevation. One hollow was so steep it was necessary to get the
second tractor to help. Finally we reached the highway and from
there we used a dual trailed to transport the ten ton Minnie 70
miles to the quiet little settlement of Mendon.

There she was safely landed on the ground beside the Russell 10
hp. of 1392, Russell 6 hp. of 1891 and the Case 60 hp. of 1911.

Several days were spent repairing and improvising running parts.
I turned the city water in the capacious boiler at a 95 lbs.
pressure with no sign of leaks. A fire was started and finally the
steam raised to 50 lbs. I slowly opened the throttle and Minnie
refused to respond. Having had much difficulty heretofore, I raised
the governor valve stem and away she went. About knocking a 67
years old steam veteran off the side. I then engaged the gears and
traveled around the lot with such delight that only a steam engine
enthusiast could fully appreciate.

Minnie is awaiting her fresh coat of paint along with ‘Betsy
Lee’, ‘Old Betsy’, and ‘Old Nig’ (Case 60).
I’ve already painted the Advance separator and Massilon Cyclone
preparatory to our Centennial next year, which will fully depict
100 years of progress of threshing machinery, including, Ground
Hog, Sweep Horse Power, plain steam outfit and the latest steam
outfit with blower, self feeder and weigher. Of course the later
contraptions will be added to bring it down to date with Gas
and’ self-propelled combines.

  • Published on Nov 1, 1955
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