R.R. 13, Box 209 Brazil, Indiana 47834
David Weder, 16, and his sister Annie in front of their
father’s 18 HP Gaar Scott #14530 which they operated during the
Highland, Illinois show. It is certainly nice to see teenagers take
an active role in the steam hobby.
How many times have you driven several miles to a steam show to
find the show has gotten smaller over the years, or the engines are
not mechanically able to pull a load, much less put on a good steam
The show at Highland, Illinois, will not disappoint you. The
group that puts on this show strives to have different engines and
equipment at each year’s show, and this year will be no
1902 15 HP Keck-Gonnerman owned by Joe Graziana of Wood River,
Illinois, at the Highland Show. This is the only 15 HP
Keck-Gonnerman that is still around.
Highland had roots in steam long before steam was considered a
hobby. One of the engines at the show that is a part of this
history is an 18 HP Gaar Scott #14,530. The engine was purchased
new by a Mr. Berker and was run for several years when it was
decided that a new boiler was needed. The engine was taken to the
Luetwiler Boiler Shop at Highland. Bert Luetwiler, who ran the
shop, was a third generation boiler repairman who repaired all
types of steam engines. A good amount of his business was the
repair of Gaar Scott steam engines. The reason for this was due to
the fact that sending an engine back to the Gaar Scott factory in
Richmond, Indiana, to be rebuilt would mean an expensive railroad
bill plus the cost of the repairs. As a result, Bert Luetwiler had
a large stock of patterns to make new parts for most of the repairs
needed on Gaar Scott engines. Mr. Luetwiler did many types of
boiler repairs but did not build complete boilers, as many
companies were still in the business of building new boilers.
Rick Apple of Castalian Springs, Tennessee, is one of the
visiting engineers and is doing something he truly enjoys running a
22 HP Keck-Gonnerman on a good pull at Highland, Illinois.
In 1937, Gaar Scott #14,530 was mounted on a brand new boiler
built by Murray Boiler Works of Kentucky. The cost of boiler and
Luetwiler’s labor to mount the engine on the new boiler was
In 1956, Gaar Scott #14,530 was sold at auction to Erwin Weder
of Highland, Illinois. The engine is now owned by Don Weder, who is
Erwin’s son. The engine is now shown at the Highland Show by
Don’s children, David and Annie Weder. Not many teenagers would
want to be on a hot dirty steam engine for three days (especially a
teenage girl!). This brother and sister proved they are more than
equal to the task. Annie tried her hand at driving some of the
other makes of engines at the show. The sawmill at Highland makes
the dust fly all three days of the show. The head sawyer, Joe
Graziana, keeps a good variety of steam power belted to the
A couple of Okie steam engineers lend a hand at Highland. Chady
Atteberry of Blackwell, Oklahoma, is on top of the Harrison
threshing machine. Steve Dunn of Cleveland, Oklahoma, is on the
Highland, an equal opportunity show, proves it by letting in
engines with that four-letter word, Case. Jim Russell of Oblong,
Illinois, on his father’s 50 HP Case engine.
Part of the steam line up at last year’s Highland show. The
members bring different engines each year, plus the show should
have a few engines which are new to the area.
The show has a medium sized rock crusher which can certainly
test the mettle of a steam engine. It seems the crusher can be
started easier with a double cylinder engine than a single
cylinder. One engineer at Highland who belted his single cylinder
engine to the rock crusher and was starting it from a dead stop,
thought he had mistakenly belted up to a tree.
The Highland Show is fortunate to have a good field for steam
plowing and several plow engines are there to make good use of the
Illinois law requires that a boiler inspection be done every two
years. The inspection is done by the district boiler inspector, who
works for the state fire marshal. A new twist to the inspections is
that the boiler inspectors are now using ultrasonic testers at the
inspections. I do not foresee the boiler inspectors giving the
‘kiss of death’ to very many boilers based on these tests;
however I expect some engine owners to become much more aware of
their boiler condition.
About half of the engines at Highland were due for inspection
last year, and all of the engines passed with flying colors. The
exhibitors at Highland do not mind the yearly visit of the boiler
inspector, as the engines are regularly maintained and are
routinely washed out.
If you want to attend the best steam show in west central or
southern Illinois, don’t miss the Highland Show September
11-13, 1998. You won’t be disappointed!