Iron Man Of The Month

| November/December 1969


'Better say 'Hello' to the Lord while you're up there, Harry,' shouted the voice of Jay Gould over the WOWO Fort Wayne mikes as the crowds whooped 'n hollered.

A pair o.' oily old overalls and red polka-dot cap, a well-smoked, straight-stemmed briar pipe and old Case No. 9 -that and a hill to climb and a crowd to thrill is all it takes for Harry Woodmansee to do his stuff. And, as one watches breathlessly from his earthbound position this daring engineer ascend upwards into the cloud-bedecked sky-blue yonder, he is not a little hard-pressed to wonder which is out-smoking the other Harry's old pipe or the stack o' old No. 9.

'Yes, I always git a little scared when I'm going up there - so many things can happen,' confided the hill-climbing Harry Woodmansee in his soft Michigan brogue as I queried him beside his puffing 12-horse Case, just descended from his heavenly sojourn that Sunday Afternoon.

It's always one of the main highlights of the day's agenda at the big Old-Time Threshers and Sawmillers Reunion on the Jim Whitby farm at Ft. Wayne, Ind. - the announcement that the veteran Harry Woodmansee is going to climb the steep incline, offering all the accoutrements and contraptions of a spinetingling extravaganza sufficient to send the crowds scurrying.

With Woodmansee, the climbing of the big hill at the throttle of a steam engine is just part of the daily dozen that an engineer of his capacity and know how goes through to keep the folks entertained. Yet, routine as it may become for even him at the numerous steam reunions throughout the midwest where he daily performs, each show has a different kind of incline, each day brings different kinds of weather, and Harry, his pipe and old No. 9 must be always in fine fettle to keep the folks happy and coming back, year after year.