Hedtke's Antique Engines Damaged

| May/June 1979

  • Engines

  • Engines

Stillman Valley, Illinois 61084

Davis Junction, IllinoisThe roof of a 60 x 144 foot metal storage building less than five years old gave way Saturday evening, January 13, 1979, during a furious snow and wind storm, damaging priceless engines and other antique machinery belonging to George W. Hedtke.

The machinery is a main attraction at the North Central Illinois Steam Power Show which Hedtke stages each August during the first weekend at his Hickory-Oaks Farm on Illinois 72, 1 miles east of U.S. 51.

'It was a terrifying sight when I saw the roof down on my engines with the smoke stacks sticking through the metal roof,' Hedtke said. 'I would say 90% of the equipment received some kind of damage, some extensive and some only slight.' Hedtke first sighted the fallen roof Sunday morning when he and couple of friends drove to the farm following a snow plow on Illinois 72.

Hedtke emphasized that the roof didn't collapse from the snow weight alone, and that the furious wind Saturday evening added much to cause the roof to twist and eventually fall. To the east and west of Hedtke's building are groves of trees, while open fields lie to the north and south. The result was a wind tunnel, with winds hitting 45 to 70 miles per hour at times.

The entire roof with 14 foot eves gave way as 6' x 6' wall post snapped in two. The entire south wall became twisted and will have to be replaced, while the north wall is salvageable, and perhaps the end-gables. The building, which was erected in June 1974, prior to the first steam power show on the Hickory-Oaks Farm, was insured, also the machinery, Hedtke said. Hedtke estimated the damage to the building alone at $30,000.


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