Keck Gonnerman Restoration

| September/October 1999

5570 Monroe-Concord Road West Milton, Ohio 45383

I was lucky enough to be born and raised in southwest Ohio (Brookville), an area that is rich with steam history. I was introduced to the steam traction engine at Golden Gate Park at a yearly get-together, where I had the privilege of meeting many real steam men.

My first ride at the age of six years was with either Homer F. Holp or Ed Troutman. There were also Harold Holp, Roscoe Shivadecker, Chester Highler, John J. Holp, Sr., Kenny Mears (who owned a nicely restored Rumely Oil Pull), Kenny Ullery, and many more. As a teen I went on to other steam shows like the Darke County Steam Threshers, Tipton, Indiana, Rushville, Indiana, and of course, Wauseon, Ohio, where I was introduced to more steam menthe likes of John Sandula, Dave and Wayne Kemler, Larry Hardwick, Bud and Steve Hienbeck, and many more people too numerous to mention here. For many years I dreamed of the day that I might find a way of owning one of these fascinating machines.

During these years of going to steam shows, I also had the privilege of meeting and becoming friends with Howard Miller of Liberty Center, Ohio. Howard came to realize how badly I wanted an engine, and he had a 20 HP Keck that was in need of restoring. I saw the engine at the home of John Holp Jr., in Arcanum, and fell in love with it.

Howard offered me the Keck, and after some negotiating, a deal was struck and on January 1, 1991, the 20 HP Keck became mine!! This was truly a dream come true for me.

I made an arrangement with John to restore the engine at his shop, because, at the time, I lived in Dayton (25 miles away). Needless to say, there was going to be a lot of driving involved to work on the Keck.