| March/April 1956


Nearly every community in Polk and Burnett Counties, and many from a greater distance were represented at the sixth annual Steam Engine Day at the Gilmar Johnson farm in West Sweden, Frederic, Saturday.

Bright autumn weather helped make it a grand day for the crowd of about 2,000 in attendance. Each year the affair grows in popularity. It was a good clean crowd and everyone was enthusiastic about the engines and the other old time machinery, rebuilt, re-polished and actually operating. The shrill steam whistle was common, as folks were invited to try out the cord.

Gilmar Johnson had in operation a collection of valuable antique machinery, rarely seen in this area These, together with some items brought by other fans, offered a wide variety of activities including threshing with two outfits, plowing, baling, shredding corn, and sawing lumber, shingles and wood.

Johnson's 1908 Advance, rated at 12 h.p., or 36 by comparison, was engineered by O. W. Bowen of Woodman, Wisconsin, and his 1912 Case, listed as 9 h. p., but actually 30, was engineered that day by Harold Churchill of Rock Elm, near Elmwood. His 1918 Case 50 was under the care of Dan Booth of Ellsworth. Hardy Lindblad drove his 45-year-old 60 hp Case, complete with canopy, over from Trade Lake as it is equipped with rubber. Jens M. Hansen's huge 1920 Minneapolis engine had been brought up from Luck, and he was there to operate it. These together with Johnson's 1920 Indiana, 1923 Titan and 1927 Fordson tractors were shifted around operating a variety of machines, including a 1892 36 inch Case threshing machine, all wood, hand feeder; and his Keystone Champion wooden overshot.

Dan Booth and Nyle Kurth of Eau Claire, operated a steamer, pulling five bottoms, and could easily have handled eight.


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