9374 Roosevelt Street Crown Point, Indiana 46307
Once again the rain fell over Pawnee, in the early month of May, as the Oklahoma Steam Threshing & Gas Engine Associatior held their annual show.
Early Friday morning the sweet smell of dawn begins to flow from each of the stacks, as the row of steam engines stand in silence of old friends. Soon the gentle pace of the reunion begins; near the lineup of engines one finds the sawmill busy over the weekend.
Threshing, Amos Rixmann and Prony brake, the Pawnee Express, live music, antique cars and trucks, gas engines, the flea market and craft areas and a new blacksmith shop were just part of the weekend events.
After the parade the 'Elgin Watch' 40 took her place at the base of the incline. For the past few years Chady Atteberry has claimed that his last year on the incline was near. Chady has been encouraging a few of the younger engineers so that one day they can carry on the skill of the incline to a new generation.
With this being his 'last year,' extra preparations were taken with the incline with two additional flags. Even security was added to insure the spectators would remain at a safe distance. All mud and dirt was removed from the wheel of the 'Elgin Watch.' All loose wood and debris was removed from the incline. By now the governor belt had been removed and a complete check of the engine and boiler was being made by Chady himself. Amos Rixmann is now providing information on the steam traction engine.
'Get this old lady out of here!' yelled a red faced Chady, to what appeared to be an elderly lady who crossed the security line for a closer look at the 40 Case engine.
With all individuals at a safe distance, Chady with his hand now on the throttle, signaled he is ready. Amos, hesitating a moment, invited Chady to the speaker's stand to add his own personal words on the Elgin and the incline. A gasp soon came from the crowd as the elderly lady, who had moments earlier been admiring the engine, now had made her way onto the engine! With the throttle lever in hand, the Elgin soon made its way to the top of the incline. Upon reaching the top of the incline, a turn 'smooshed' and a polite wave to the crowd from the lady engineer!
Later that same day security was increased and Chady returned to the incline, while others kept a close watch for 'little old ladies.'
On Friday evening the sound of the distant thunder marked the coming rain. The rain continued on till noon, and a garment of mud was cast across the show grounds. Exhibitors still came for the show and equipment parade. The parade for Saturday and Sunday had to wait till the next year. Many show events and activities continued over the rest of the weekend.
Though weather during the weekend was not as one would wish or pray for, friends still came for the show and to visit, as ashes, sawdust and memories were made.