Rt 3, Box 3722 Grayling, Michigan 49738
Ray Hall with a model of his great grandads sawmill. Ray’s
grandad, John Perry, built the model and, for years, brought it to
the Buckley Show. Really saws small logs. Ray did a terrific
And so What’s your heritage? Musical, agricultural, factory,
mechanical, seamanship, educational, etc, etc.
What did your granddad or great-granddad do? Or even your dad?
Don’t you, when you meet someone new, sort of wonder – what did
he do? I usually find out if I’m around a person very long. My
dad and granddad were both farmers although granddad almost
wasn’t. If he hadn’t left Germany in his youth, he would
almost certainly have been a brewer, as was his dad. Granddad
wanted to be a farmer, so, off to U.S. he went where he could be
what he wanted to be. His farm, near the town of Hadley, is still
in the family. Brother Gene bought it from Dad. But I go there
often. Some sixty years ago, I collected ‘old’ engines from
around that neighborhood and brought them home where they were
mostly in Dad’s way. Oh well!
But I said ‘heritage’. That is what quite a lot of
engine shows are getting to be. When our Buckley show started, it
was mostly a bunch of old engines out along the edge of Joe
Rebman’s woods. Guys just got together and ran engines. Not so
today. There are all sorts of heritages. Perhaps not everything
that one would find at all the shows but almost. For example, this
year there were 3 folks that at one time or another were pounding
iron. One, in particular, Gary Smith from Ossineke, was as fine a
real blacksmith as I have seen in these late years especially for a
young fellow. He could hammer out almost anything that the crowd
would ask for. And along with doing it, he talked to the folks and
told them about it. Was a good crowd there all the time. And up on
the hill, near the front of the clubhouse, was a potter working,
running the wheel. Making all sorts of dishes, cups, and bowls and
things. Answering all questions and ‘teaching’. In the
clubhouse there were many more crafts in action. And others out
around the grounds. All this at an ‘engine show’?
For this year we rented some more land to the northwest for the
flea market. Some say it has doubled in size maybe not quite.
Still, no person could possibly cover all the flea market and see
all the engine show in one day. Of that I am sure.
I will admit that we did have a problem this year. Was most
upsetting to all of us. We couldn’t handle the incoming traffic
on Saturday fast enough. There were some miles of traffic lined up
to get in and many couldn’t. Some friends, who I had been after
for a year to be sure to come to Buckley, third weekend in August,
had gotten to within a couple miles then had to make a U-turn and
go back home. Problem is fixed now. More land. More parking
facilities, more of whatever it takes to handle any traffic.
No one here believe the attendance could have grown so fast.
However, I’m told, other clubs have had similar growth
problems. What with that many thousand folks around, and they all
want to eat at the same time, all need bathroom facilities, and so
many today need camping facilities, and they all want to see the
show and we want them to be happy in all the above.
Early morning is, I think, a rather nostalgic time. Often a fog
is covering the long valley of our show grounds. And through the
fog come sounds of a steam whistle here and there some engineer
bragging that he fired up real early or the clatter of a one lunger
getting a good cranking. We park our camper right on the edge of
gas-engine land and in sight of the pavillion where there is a line
of folks getting a ‘real’ breakfast cooked by the Buckley
Chamber of Commerce. All sorts of show sounds coming our way to
flavor the third cup of coffee unhurried now but we’ll be
plenty busy right soon.
The club extended the sawmill building this year out over the
hothead engine that I told you about last year. Changed a few other
things in there too so the traction engines and larger gas tractors
can still have a turn at the mill if they so wish. Had a Case 80
new to us this year. Produced plenty of power but I guess it used
quite a bit of wood and water. Sam Zue fixed up a swing saw and
conveyor for the slabs this year.
Made it better for the steam engines, most of which burn wood
real good. We usually get by with only 2 or 3 tons of coal.
During the past year we had an offer from a young fellow from
down near Grand Rapids who is a new member of the club. Named
Wesley Scott. I’m often amazed at the sort of new members we
get. Couple of years ago the club decided to slow down the ‘new
member’ situation and concentrate on ‘new working
members’. Our working members really work before, during, and
after the show. Physically and mentally. They’re of all ages.
Some come from near and some come from afar. Many bring campers
days ahead and work. Anyway – back to Wes. About 10 years ago he
removed a 350 HP Corliss engine from the Voit Flour Mill in Grand
Rapids. Cleaned it up and stored it. Recently, it seemed to him
that he should act on the situation. So he offered it to our club,
on a lease basis I think, if we would set it up, cover it and run
it. I’m not sure if the lease was one dollar a year for ten
years or a dollar for ten years. Doesn’t matter that much. Sam
Zue and crew got right busy and poured a big bunch of cement with
bolts in the right places and the project, the main project for
’82, was underway. They also poured foundations for several
other steam engines, compressors, steam well water pump and a
condenser, and a new base for the boiler. And a lot of other things
such as a long manifold and tables for the model steam engine
folks. Then they called in a local contractor who erected a 40 by
62 foot building over it all. And more!
An old sawmill engine from an island in Lake MichiganA
Gardener-Denver steam powered air compressor and in the rear a 350
HP Corliss. All running.
About a show like this. It is so dangerous to name names because
some real important ones can so easily be left out. There is no way
to pay honor and respects to all who deserve it. The many folks who
are at the gates year after year, who lay out and park the flea
market, who park engines and tractors, who prepare and serve the
food, who order everything that the show needs. And many more.
About a half dozen were at it almost day and night to get the new
steam engine building going: parts, piping, fittings, timing,
lighting, traffic and a million other things.
Our advertising says that the show stops at five o’clock PM.
That’s not really so. That’s when supper starts. And lots
of folks are still around their engines or exhibits and want to
talk about them yet. And each night the pavillion is packed and
running over with singing, square dancing, music of all sorts,
until nearly past bedtime. Lots of food is still available. Some of
the club fellows make ‘hog-kettle’ popcorn it is free.
Steam engines put on a spark show. And more. Show is still third
weekend in August. Gets going on Friday with senior citizens free.
But I see campers coming in as early as Monday or Tuesday. And by
Thursday there are lots of engines being tried out or run. And a
couple thousand folks, I would guess, wandering around. Having fun.
That’s what it’s all about. All ages of kids. Ma and Pa,
Grandpa and Grandma. And some ‘Greats’ also. See you in