STILLMAN VALLEY - A 1923 STEAM ENGINE pulls a 1928 threshing machine at the North Central Illinois Steam Power Show held at Hickory Oaks Farm, Davis Junction, on Aug. 1, 2, 3, and 4. Beem photo
Christine Beem, Stillman Valley, Illinois 61084.
DAVIS JUNCTION-A carnival atmosphere prevailed at the North Central Illinois Steam Power Show held at Hickory Oaks Farm, Davis Junction, on Aug. 1, 2, 3, and 4.
Steam and soot filtered through the air as coal and gas was burned to heat water which produced steam to power the tractors which were a common sight on farms a couple of generations ago.
Hundreds of people attended the exhibits and demonstrations of agricultural methods of days gone by.
The idea for a Steam Show began eighteen years ago when George Hedtke, President of the North Central Illinois Steam Power Show, bought his first steam engine.
For seven years the annual event was held in Kings. The 1974 show marked the first year of the show at the Hickory Oaks Farm site, a 45 acre area which will be the permanent home of the show.
Hedtke plans to turn the area into an agricultural museum in order to preserve a piece of our American heritage. In addition to the various steam equipment of yesterday, Hedtke will develop a Frontier Village with a harness shop and a blacksmith shop.
The officers of the North Central Illinois Steam Power Show are George Hedtke, president; Tom Draus, vice-president; Emil Svanda, secretary-treasurer; all of rural Davis Junction and John Schwartz, assistant secretary. Something for Everyone
There was something for everybody at the show. Kids were given hay rides and could be seen jumping in and throwing hay at one another from the giant hay pile at the edge of the field. There was also a pony ride for them.
The various steam machinery was seen by everyone in action during the parade which began each day at 2 p.m. One of the featured attractions at the parade was the Liberty Bell Float. The 810 lb. bell originally came from the Leaf River Methodist Church.
Leonard Apple rang the bell during the parade to signify freedom.
Mrs. Mary Hedtke, mother of North Central Illinois Steam Power Show President, George Hedtke, was honored as 'Queen of the Bee,' the first Queen of Hickory Oaks Farm and the Steam Power Show.' Wearing a costume such as was worn in the early part of the century she rode in the parade in a single horse drawn carriage.
Hold Plow Demonstrations Throughout the day demonstrations were held in plowing using both steam and gas engines and by hand using horse drawn plows, in straw baling, in threshing, both horse powered and steam and gas engine powered, and sawing. There were -also demonstrations of a buzz saw, baker fan, fence and rope making and corn grinding with horses.
Of particular interest at the show was what could be called the first power washing machine. A pulley was attached to a steam motor on one end and a rounded wash tub on the other.
As the motor turned the pulley the wash tub rocked back and forth creating an agitating motion.
There was also a water pump run the same way. Te engine turned the pulley which in turn pumped the handle up and down to produce water.
A 1919 Model 'T' one ton truck caught the fancy of many as did the different whistles, sounding something like train whistles, of the smoke belching steam engines.
Have Complete Facilities The grounds had complete facilities with picnic tables for those who brought their lunch, concession stands which provided popcorn, cotton candy and other food items, and other concessions. The Monroe Center Union Church served dinners in the huge main building which will house the machinery during the winner months.
Although the days were overcast and threatened rain, those who came and saw the machinery and demonstrations came away with a better sense of what America is all about.
Mrs. Mary B. Hedtke, 79, Lin-den wood, Illinois, mother of North Central Illinois Steam Power Show President, George W. Hedtke, was honored as the 'Queen' of the 1974 Threshing Bee Show, at Hickory-Oaks Farm, Davis Junction, Illinois. Her son, George, is standing at her side, following her introduction to the big crowd on Sunday, August 4, 1974. Courtesy of Ronald and Christine Beem, Stillman Valley, Illinois 61084