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
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
Leonard Apple rang the bell during the parade to signify
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
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
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