R. D. 1, Dillsburg, Pa.
NAME & ADDRESS LIST FOR THE STEAM ENGINE TOUR SEPT. 1 to 7,
Mr. & Mrs. E. C. Nafe, R.D. 1, Glen Rock, Pa.; Bert
Messersmith, R.D. 1, Glen Rock, Pa.; Nevin Amspacher, R.D. 1, Glen
Rock, Pa.; Mr. & Mrs. Norman Lau, R.D. 1, Spring Grove, Pa.;
William Strayer, R.D. 1, Dillsburg, Pa.; William Luckenbaugh, R.D.
2, Glen Rock, Pa.; Mr. & Mrs. Stewart Hersh, Godorus, Pa.; Jake
Bricker, R.D. 1, Glen Rock, Pa.; Mr. William King, R.D. 1,
Dillsburg, Pa.; Mrs. Margaret Merkel, 396 Butter Road, Glyndon,
Maryland; John H. Gerforick, 340 Garfield St., York, Pa.; Virgil
Sterner, R.D. 1, Spring Grove, Pa.; Mr. & Mrs. Titus H.
Brubaker, Rohrcrstown, Pa.; Mr. & Mrs. LeRoy, Ebersol, R.D. 1,
Leola, Pa.; Walter T. Sheffer, R.D. 3, Glen Rock, Pa.; Vance
Stitzel, York Springs, Pa.; Mr. Ben Bright, R.D. 2, Box 15, Easton,
Md.; Fred Everhart, R. 3, Box 725, Easton,, Md.; J. Rex Haver, 643
Bellefonte Ave., Lock Haven, Pa.; Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Krebs,
Seven Valleys, Pa.; Mr. & Mrs. John R. Smith, R. 1, Glen Rock,
Pa.; Preston Stmith, 341 S. Pleasant Ave.; Dallastown, Pa.; Mason
Gable, 51 E. Main, Dallastown, Pa.; Miss Nellie Anderson, 254
Rosevelt Ave., York, . Pa.; Mr. William Toflin, 1317 N. Calvert
St., Baltimore, Md.; Mr. & Mrs. Dale Hempfing (Driver-Escort)
Office Address, 10 W. Elm Ave., Hanover, Pa.
Report of Lincoln Bus tour September 1st to 7th inclusive with
thirty one passengers plus the driver and escort, Mr. and Mrs. Dale
Hempfling, all steam engine fans.
Whispers of such a tour began to circulate among the local
engine fans in 1969 and when the Lincoln tours were set up for the
1970 season the Steam engine tour was advertised publicly for the
first time in their brochures. The response was immediate and
gratifying with the result that on the morning of September 1st we
were all set for What turned out to be a week of very enjoyable
travel and sight seeing.
We began by gathering at the Lincoln terminal and office at 10
W. Elm Avenue, Hanover, Pennsylvania early (May 30). Tuesday
morning we pulled out at 6:10 for York, Pennsylvania, where we
picked up about half of our party and after some photos were taken
we headed north on 181 to the Pennsylvania turnpike then headed
While passing Carlisle, Pennsylvania someone made a remark that
after spending the night there he had hurried to Hanover and now
two hours later was back to his starting place.
We traveled until about 10 o’clock then stopped for our mid
morning-coal and water stop. These two to three hours stops were
continued through out the entire trip and were always very welcome
for stretching our legs, picking up snack, etc.
While the driver made his routine check he noticed a defect in a
tire Which was immediately removed. This delayed us for awhile, but
it turned out to be the only delay we had on the entire
Our noon stop was made in Ohio, after traveling through the coal
and oil fields of Western Pennsylvania.
After about an hour of travel into Ohio the rolling terrain gave
way to nice level farm land with bountiful crops of corn and soy
beans. We entered Indiana in mid-afternoon where the farmland
seemed about equal to western Ohio and after traveling a total of
590 miles to Elkhart, Indiana, we were put up at the Elkhart Hotel
for the night. We arrived here rather early so everyone had an
opportunity to look around the city as they wished. These little
shopping sprees were greatly enjoyed by the women of our group
while the men could look for a little liquid refreshments for their
boilers if they so desired.
The next morning we were all to be called at 6:30, but yours
truly and my room-mate (Bill King) were missed being called, so the
driver had to call us when getting together to pull outso two bums
went without breakfast.
Our first stop this day (Wednesday) was at a restaurant in
Illinois, sitting directly over the turnpike connecting a filling
station on each side. Here is one place a person can eat with the
world passing under his feet. We now left the Chicago beltway near
the Ohara airport taking 180 west past Joliet to Moline, Illinois
where we arrived about 11.00 local time, but 12:00 our time.
Now for a surprise, thanks to our driver and escort. We drove
past a beautiful lake to several ultra-mode-in buildings, one a
museum and exhibition building, the other the new world wide office
of John Deere, now Deere and Company where we parked the bus and
were met by the visitor’s manager, Mr. S. R. Majors and our
group host, Mr. Nightengail, who escorted us into a beautiful
auditorium. Mr. Nightengail gave a short address of welcome and
history of the John Deere Company, at the end of address he asked
us to follow him to the guest dining room in the large office
building. Now this was the best part of his speech because our
watches said 1:00 and as every old thresherman knows this indicates
one of two things, either a lazy housewife or a very tough old
We were escorted to a wonderful dining room, which we heard
later Was used to dine the Deere Company representatives from
foreign countries, we were seated around two large tables which
reminded us of the large threshing crews of years ago. We were then
each served with a large plate of beef steak with all the
trimmings. One of our group, Mr. Ebersol, was called upon to ask
the blessing, making the thresherman setting complete. After all
this we noticed it has started to rain, but no one paid much
attention to it as everything, even the bus, was under roof.
These buildings by the way are constructed entirely of steel,
glass and concrete. The steel is exposed and is a new product which
never requires painting or cleaning, forming its own coating in
Next we entered the bus and followed our host through the city
to their Combine factory where we were divided into groups of five,
then introduced to a guide for each group. These guides were
retired employes of this factory, all dedicated men, being very
proud of Deere and Company, as well as being very courteous and
full of information. We witnessed the building of a self propelled
combine from the balancing of the cylinder to the starting of the
motor, and driven out of the door to the shipping yard. The average
out-put for an eight hour shift is seventeen machines. This tour of
the factory required about two hours and now it was really raining
so our driver was told to drive the bus into the factory where we
all climbed aboard without a drop of rain on anyone, except the
driver. We were now escorted back to the Museum and Show-rooms
where we could brouse to our hearts content.
When we were at the factory we were each given a pair of
protective eye glasses bearing the John Deere trademark which we
now learned was a souvenir from Deere and Company.
After brousing around for quite a while we departed for the
Holiday Motel in Maline, everyone, I am sure with a warm feeling
for Deere and Co.
After we had our evening meal the rain stopped and we all hoped
it had missed our next morning’s destination (Mt. Pleasant,
Iowa) approximately one hundred miles south west of our over-night
stop. The next morning (Thursday) we slept rather late, had
breakfast with everyone on time, then crossed the Mississippi river
into Davenport and drove almost west a-long the river about thirty
miles to Muscatine, where the river turns South.
This is a beautiful drive with the river in view nearly all the
way. Many grain barges were in evidence on the river, both
traveling and being loaded at large terminals. We now traveled
Southwest on a zig zag route because the men who laid out their
road system must have been farmers who despised pie shaped fields.
We arrived at the show grounds of Mt. Pleasant about 10:30 where we
were met by the officials of the Midwest Old Settlers and
thresherman reunion namely Mr. William Sater, President, Mr.
Herbert, Secretary and Mrs. Millie Turley, Public Relations.
The grounds were wet because the rain had preceded us by only a
few hours, but after such a reception who cared about a little mud.
Their advertisements state, this is the greatest Steam Show on
earth and it certainly lives up to its claim. We spent the greater
part of two days and yours truly did not get to see it all, even by
riding many times on their rubber tired trains which travel
continually over the entire grounds.
By late afternoon the ground had dried sufficiently to have a
partial parade before a packed grandstand which we were told has
twenty seven hundred seats, but surely there were many more than
this number standing on the sidelines.
To my surprise one of the passing engines was operated by one of
our party who already seemed right at home. We left the show about
5:00 thinking we would have better weather the following day to
look around. We than drove East about thirty miles to the Holiday
motel in Burlington, Iowa again near the Mississippi river.
We had our evening meal and were promised good weather for the
following days by the local weatherman. This Weatherman it turned
out was the chief of all Weathermen.
All were up early the next morning (Friday) and raring to go,
with the steam engineers uniforms very much in evidence, overalls
and firemans caps. Yours truly with light foot gear to get over me
grounds better and save energy.
The sunrise over this level countryside was beautiful, but
almost at once was covered by clouds. Now! You guessed it. It began
to rain before we had driven ten miles and continued to rain hard
until we arrived at the show grounds where some thought we should
wait it out by staying on the bus, but we were escorted to a paved
parking spot, which I believe was the only one available, and every
one moved out into the mud and rain which seemed to end
The steam train, which completely encircles the grounds, as well
as all rubber tired ones were loaded to capacity most of the time
because it was impossible to stay out of the mud on foot.
Most of the big engines had to sit still all day, but by noon
the ground had improved quite a bit and the crowd had grown to what
appeared normal but we were told it was a small turn out by their
standards. Their show grounds consists of over seven hundred acres
including parking spaces.
Seventy nine steam traction engines were on the grounds ranging
from three to one hundred twenty H.P. and many smaller models and
many stationary engines ranging from small models to very large
coiless types, most in operation. Many large gasoline tractors and
gas engines were on display.
A complete Pioneer Village is located at one end of the grounds
with the steam train traveling in the center of Main Street and
stopping at the authentic station on a regular schedule, loading
and discharging passengers.
The village contains a church, school house, black smith shop,
harness shop, jail, saloon, barber shop, medicine show and many
others all of which are open for business to the public and makes a
real old time move setting.
One building having two floors is completely filled with
restored antique autos and parts as well as a flea market. This to
me is a show in itself.
Three older members from Pennsylvania were among the group
honored at the show headquarters with a ceremony presenting their
old timers thresherman certificate namely William King, Age 82,
Titus Brubaker, Age 81, Bert Messersmith, Age 83, along with Miles
Atkins of Iowa.
Again about 5:30 we reluctantly gathered at the bus where the
officials and press gave a little speech of appreciation, wished us
a safe journey home as well as a hearty invitation to return next
year when they hoped the weather would be more cooperative.
After leaving the show we drove to East Bloomington, Illinois
stopping at another beautiful Holiday motel where we had our
evening meal and tried to clean our gear.
Now their black fertile soil is wonderful for growing corn and
beans but it surely was not so nice when wet and stirred by
thousands of feet as well as steam engines, resulting in a bus load
of very muddy feet. Our driver confided to me the following morning
that he had to scrub out the bus after supper in order to have it
respectful for travel the next day.
My room-mate and yours truly decided the only way to clean our
shoes was with a wash cloth plus soap and water, which we proceeded
to do. We finally had the shoes looking presentable again, but Oh!
My! The wash cloth and bathroom!
The following morning we found that most of the group had a
similar experience so it was probably a good thing that we were
leaving the state.
This morning (Saturday) we could sleep rather late because
we were coming to the same motel again this evening, therefore no
packing and storing luggage before leaving.
After a short drive we arrived at the Threshermens Reunion and
Horse Show grounds near Pontiac, Illinois where we were met by an
escorting party consisting of Mr. Ed Branz, President, and Robert
Kipfer, Past President Who gave us a hearty welcome then escorted
us to a vantage parking spot near the center of the grounds.
Here the grounds were wet but their show is located among a
stand of beautiful virgin timber and a good cover of sod so it was
not too bad underfoot but the engines did not move about very much
until late afternoon when another partial parade was held.
While we were on the grandstand the M.C. asked for a show of
hands from another group from Georgia and about twelve responded
then our group was called with most responding from the stand.
Both groups were then treated to a wonderful welcome ‘by the
show management. While this show is not as large as the Mt.
Pleasant show it had many pieces of machinery that yours truly had
never come across before and every-one seemed glad to explain in
response to questions.
Apparently nearly all the people at both shows were from farms
and are friendly to strangers because yours truly spoke to many and
failed to meet one city man. All told me that they lived on a farm
or was a retired farmer.
This is quite a contrast to most of our Eastern Steam shows
Where the visitors seem to consist of about equal numbers of city
and farm folks. Many people from our cities have never observed a
small gasoline engine in operation and often ask what they were
Now to most readers of this magazine this is a silly question,
but just think a little and you will discover that it is later than
we think and the question becomes less silly.
Being a retired lumberman, my greatest impression of the Pontiac
show was the grounds with its beautiful shade trees and the
wonderful folks we met.
In the evening the horse show was held on the parade grounds
Where a large group of beautiful horses were put through their
paces before a filled grandstand, but we had to leave before the
show was completed.
We were escorted from our parking space, through the crowds to
the gate, then given a very friendly good bye and an earnest
invitation to come again.
Now back to Bloomington and to bed, because tomorrow (Sunday) we
hope to cover many miles toward home. Again we slept rather late
and after a nice breakfast we climbed aboard where we had a short
devotional service before starting East through Illinois to Peoria,
the home of the Old’ Avery Machinery Company.
Traffic was light and we made good time until someone yelled
Indianaset time pieces ahead one hour.
This caused some confusion and suddenly it was time to stop for
dinner after which we continued to Indianapolis and the famous race
track, where we spent a very short hour visiting and sightseeing.
Most of the men boarded small buses for a guided tour including one
lap around the 2 mile track, but set no speed records.
Racing seems to be the way of life in this city. We noticed a
group of young men and women around a race car in a parking lot and
we were curious as to just what was going on here, and after a look
we had more faith in the younger generation. Here were about twenty
clean cut and shaven young men and boys, mostly in clean white
coveralls, who had the engine of the racer dismantled to replace a
piston which they proceeded to do at a pace that would put most of
our six and eight dollars per hour men to shame.
We now left Indianapolis on Route 70 and before long we entered
Ohio then by-passed Dayton and on to Columbus where we were again
put up at a nice Holiday motel for our last night out. Here we were
told by our escort that if we would go to bed early, then get up
early, we could make it to the Williams Grove show shortly after
noon. This was not in the original plans, but all assured we would
obey orders and the next morning (Labor Day) everyone was ready to
pull out at 6:00.
We drove along at a good pace for several hours before our
breakfast stop and by this time we had worked up a good appetite,
so we really enjoyed this breakfast.
We soon came to Wheeling and were through the West Virginia pan
handle before we realized it, then in to old Pennsylvania.
Somewhere we stopped for fuel at a modern truck stop where all
except our driver and escort remained on the bus, but we could not
help noticing signs on each door stating simply, in large letters,
NO SHIRT, NO SHOES, NO SERVICE. This to me is an indication that
styles may be changing, so let’s cheer up.
About noon we made our last stop before arriving at the Williams
Grove show and after our meal most of the group visited a nice gift
shop near-by where the ladies were seen buying gifts for their
grandchildren, but the men socked up on Peace offerings for their
steam engine widows.
We arrived at the Grove parking lot about 2:15 and the bus was
immediately hijacked by a group of clowns including, President
Hull, who attached two horses and one Oil Pull to the bus then
pulled us onto the parade grounds where we were serenaded by steam
Whistles, then as we emerged from the bus we were welcomed home,
individually, by Mr. Shughart, the M.C. followed by many happy
reunions with our wives and friends.
For many, this was the end of our bus trip and before dark the
bus pulled out toward York then on to Hanover, the last stop.
There are already whispers of contacting the Lincoln Bus Company
to induce the management to make this trip an annual run, only time
We had a wonderful driver and escort and a good clean
We had traveled 1995 miles in six states through thousands of
acres of wonderful crops, had seven days of fellowship, saw
thousands of individuals at three Steam Shows, plus our very fine
visit at the Deere Company and our stop at Indianapolis.
In our entire trip we saw no intoxication, heard no cussing, not
even one word spoken in anger. All this should renew our faith in
the Almighty and America, Our America, let us not sell it