1121, Hilltop Lane, Modesto, California
Well, time again to report on the goings on in steam up in the northwest that I had a hand in once again, as I expect to do about every year, time and opportunity permitting. I took part in Harvey Mikkelson's 5th annual Steam Festival, and ran his 20hp. Case, along with W. E. (Jeff) Richardson, of nearby Scott's Mills. Oregon. Scott does all of Harvey's machine work on his engine restoration, and has 4 engines of his own, including an 18-54 Aultman-Taylor, 6hp Russell portable, 6hp. Case portable, serial number in the 500's, and an old American LaFrance steam fire pump that we had steamed up while up in Oregon. The Case has to be rebuilt but all the parts are at hand, and since Jeff is a top machinist and mechanic, it won't be too hard for him.
We arrived at Salem, Oregon on August 22, 1958, we got our motel and then headed for Silverton and Harvey's farm. He has a collection of 19 engines, of which 16 are in running order, and we had 12 of the traction engines steamed up I believe a record number of engines owned by one man and under steam all the same time. There are others who have more engines, but do not operate as many at once. He also has a 30-60 Rumely Oil-Pull, single cylinder 15-30 oil-pull, 2 other smaller ones, a 12-20 and 20-35 sizes of oil pulls, and an old 8-16 International tractor and an All-Work tractor. The 30-60 is in the shop at the present time, undergoing overhaul and restoration. Every winter, Harvey puts one or 2 engines through the shop, repairing, cleaning and painting to original appearance. He is a fine fellow to know and visit with. On the 23rd, we worked on the engines, and since there was a harvest festival in Silverton, Harvey had two of his engines and his separator in the parade. Glenn Nice, of LaGrande, Oregon, operated a 12-36 Russell pulling the water tank, Harvey on his recently acquired and restored 12-36 Case pulling the 22x38 McCormick-Deering threshing machine a fine outfit that started off the threshing the next day. Grant Chandler, a Union Pacific Railroad machinist from the LaGrande shops also was around to help out with the engines and he set the valve on one 16 Advance engine Glenn is an engineer on the Union Pacific out of LaGrande. He was assisted by his oldest son, as was Grant Chandler by his boy. Sunday, Harvey belted up the 12-36 Case to the machine, and the threshing started off. A parade was also held, the large fan was used to make the engines bark and the teeter-totter was something to really try balancing on (I didn't have very good luck!). Also had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Kay Campbell of Fairfield, Calif., publisher of Steam Engines Magazine. I believe you also met him earlier in the summer. I am glad that all three publishers of the hobby magazines have finally gotten acquainted face to face. A little 6hp. Russell was also brought in. Harvey also has a Russell of this size, but still in overhaul. We threshed oats with nearly all the engines. Rodney Pitts was there, operating Harvey's Nichols & Shepard engine. Rodney is badly disfigured and has lost his right lung, is still under a doctor's care. But he's full of funny sayings, wisecracks and in fine spirits. He handled his own engine and did a bang-up job of it. He has a fine sense of humor, and had all of us in stitches most of the time. He had his own threshing bee again on Labor Day, and I imagine it was very successful. After threshing and everything was finished up about 5 o'clock, all the engines were put back in their own large, exclusive shed under their own power; no engine sets out side all are under cover. Then we sat around and had a bull session for a while. Clarence Kruse was also there, running the big 22 Advance engine. My wife helped Harvey's wife in the large hamburger stand all day, feeding the 5,000 plus visitors and my 6-year-old twin boy helped me fire the engine.
I hope some day you can come on out this way and take in some of the steam on the Coast. Loren Wade, who lives about 30 miles from here, and who has a fine 50hp. Case with con tractor's tank and bunkers, is now trying to locate a threshing machine and perhaps have his own threshing bee in a year or two it would be the only one in California, I'm sure. I run this engine occasionally, and it is in fine condition boiler refueled last year, and the tanks rebuilt. Needs painting and some other minor work, and just like new. Mr. Pierce A. Miller of 9 miles east of here, was back in your part of the country in August, and took in the Rough & Tumble threshing bee, also told me he visited with you. He has a nice 16-48 Aultman-Taylor engine that I'm going to steam up next year, and a large collection of buggies, wagons, bicycles and old automobiles, to mention a few. You should see it! Also am enclosing 2 snaps of Norman H. Griswold's large 36-120 Rumely ploy engine, double, simple cylinders, with Stephenson valve gear, 7-'xl4'' stroke. He also has a large collection of old automobiles and tractors, and a 12-inch gauge live steam railroad I've run the engine a time or two.
Well, guess that's about all I have that's news for now, but will send this along with snapshots and I only wish the magazine came out every month. It gets better all the time and each of the 3 magazines does something different very little duplication or overlapping. I wish you success in your recent retirement, and it appears you have a time-filling hobby already cut out for you.