Dreams Do Come True!

By Staff
article image

The 30 HP Avery on this issue’s cover appeared on the cover
of our January/February 1974 issue, with the story of its rescue
from a Montana mountain. Owner is don Bradley, BOX 151, Forsyth,
Montana 49327.

And remember, we’re always looking for good pictures for our

Twenty-five years ago, Don Bradley, Box 151, Forsyth, Montana
59327-0151, undertook to start making a longtime dream come true,
by bringing an 18 ton giant Avery thirty horsepower engine down
from its resting place at the 7000-foot level of the base of Mt.
Ellis above Bear Canyon near Bozeman, Montana, in order to restore

The picture on this month’s cover, which Don sent to us last
year after an appeal we made for cover shots, shows that, with lots
of hard work, dreams really do come true.

The story of how this behemoth made it to Don’s workshop was
chronicled in ‘Sleeping Giant Awakened After Fifty Years,’
an article by Margaret L. Lovely which appeared in the
January-February 1974 IMA, excerpts of which we reprint
here a quarter-century later:

‘Bradley has been an engine lover since he was a small
boy… when he first fired up an Avery engine one size smaller than
this one at age 11.’

‘After years of checking records, getting permission from
Forest Service officials, and purchasing parts from all over the
U.S. and Canada, and many trips into New World Gulch above Bear
Canyon to look the engine over, Don was ready, along with fifteen
friends and relatives who came along to help him, to take on the
perilous task of getting the engine out to civilization

In March of 1973, a Cat HD7 with backhoe was rented to prepare a
pathway through the steep, rocky gorge leading to the meadow where
the engine rested. Once the path was readied, the men began digging
the engine out of the deep snow and soil in which it had set for
fifty years since being used by Ike and Phil Aldritt at their
sawmill and lumber camp. The engine was buried nearly to the tops
of its seven-foot-tall wheels. Parts were found buried in the
hillside, and timbers from the old shed that once housed the giant
had disintegrated, leaving the engine standing alone and
unsheltered, exposed to the elements throughout the years.

Over the course of three days, the engine’s rear wheels were
removed, to lighten the load (they were later brought out
separately). The engine was jacked onto planks to hold it up while,
in a very delicate operation, a stone boat built in Don’s shop
could be placed under the frame.

Finally, on the fourth day, two Caterpillar crawlers were
hitched onto the stone trailer, one in front to pull the load, and
one at the rear to serve as a brake holding those 18 tons of iron
back on steep sections of the trail. The engine was brought down
this time in four hours; its original trip up the mountain in 1922
had taken 10 days up a ‘corduroy’ log road, with a team of
horses hitched to the front to keep the engine from rearing up and
rolling backwards down the incline.

After the modern-day trip back down the mountain, the Avery was
loaded onto a lowboy trailer for the trip to Forsyth, where Don
placed a 40 horse boiler on it and restored it to its former

Margaret Lovely closed her article with a truly ‘lovely’
paragraph about what would soon be accomplished in the restoration:
‘Don’s dreams will then be completely realized, but only
because he was unafraid to dream of such a feat, and having
dreamed, even when things seemed insurmountable, he went on
dreaming of a beautiful shining giant of an Avery engine that
someday would stand before him, a finished product of his own
hands. All because he dared to make his dreams a reality.’ You
can admire that reality on our cover this month.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment