Ed Winter’s Gas UP 2000!

11309 Route 75 North Collins, New York 14111 e-mail:
MiWinter@AOL.com

Every year since 1986, on the last Saturday in June, the quiet
little town of Langford, New York, thirty miles south of Buffalo,
awakens to the unmistakable sounds of gas and steam powered
synchronized energy. This year topped all others with over a
thousand friends gathering from as far away as Florida, Texas and
Canada. Invitations went out by word of mouth and the ‘steam
chain’ anyone interested in coming was welcome.

Along with a chicken barbecue and a vast array of everyone’s
favorite pot luck dishes, guests enjoyed the colorful spectacle of
carefully restored engines, large and small. Campers had plenty of
room to settle in along the edge of Winter’s Pond, a four acre
pond graced by a covered bridge leading to an island. The pet swans
glided by and seemed not in the least disturbed by all the
hubbub.

The show consisted of many items from historic Buffalo’s
industry. To name a few: a Buffalo Pitts steam engine, a
Worthington 600 HP gas engine, 400 HP Snow engine, 40 HP Bogart
engine.

A special attraction of the event is a 70 ton flywheel, 24 feet
in diameter, permanently mounted on a cement base. The flywheel
came from a 5,000 HP engine used to compress air at Bethlehem
Steel’s Lackawanna plant.

There was also a terrific display of approximately 40
beautifully restored farm tractors and over a dozen antique cars.
The kids were not left out either. A 1915 miniature steam train
pulling three passenger cars full of happy little ones, (and some
not so little ones), chugged and whistled nonstop around the 1300
foot track.

The annual ‘Winter’s Gas Up’ is the one day of the
year that the industrious Ed Winter, his wife Pearl, and their sons
and daughters, set out the welcome mat to entertain and enjoy their
friends. This year, however, was special. It was Ed’s 80th
birthday celebration and it was the year of the millennium! Last
December Ed, his sons and their crew were busy working on a
‘surprise.’ Their project was to be Langford’s tribute
to this millennium of progress. They began the construction of a
giant sign to herald the year ‘2000’ from the top of a 60
foot weather tower. The numbers are nine feet high and 22 feet
long, made of half inch pipe. Being a practical, hands-on sort of
guy, Ed had an easy solution for making the difficult circles for
the zeros. He just bent them around the wheels of the steam
engine!

Then another problem arose. His crane was too short to haul the
sign up to the top of the tower. So a 20 ft. extension had to be
welded ‘farmer style’ to the crane before the numbers could
be set. The venture was a success and the sign, lit each night, can
be seen for miles in the surrounding countryside.

This year, Gas Up 2000 ended with a dance under the bright
lights and a display of fireworks. Ed was overheard saying,
‘I’ve looked forward all my life to seeing the year 2000,
and we put it on with a bang!!’

As the engines, one by one, slowed and stopped, a bunch of us
gathered across the road on the banks of Ed’s Pond. All at once
everything and everyone was silent. We stood there in the quiet
dark, spellbound at the reflection of the big ‘2000’ sign
in the water. We had spent a day with one foot in our country’s
glorious industrial past marveling at the accomplishments of hard
work and ingenuity. We now stood with the other poised to leap into
the future. We hoped we would do as well as those who’ve come
before us, lighting our way.

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