Midwest Old Settlers & Threshers Reunion


| January/February 1961


Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, saw the biggest attendance of all time at the 11th Annual Reunion September 7 - 10. General opinion was that this was again bigger and better than ever. This reunion, as one radio announcer so aptly said, is the grand-daddy of them all.

More than a hundred steam engines and tractors, antique cars galore, farm machinery of pioneer days, threshing underway with various machines showing its evolution, displays of antiques, floats showing early day church services, school and farm homes, exhibits of guns and Indian relics -- even several Indians in person from the Tama reservation -- and the outstanding new feature a 69-year-old cabbage stack, narrow gauge steam locomotive on which visitors could ride all were part of the scene.

Some of the visitors had been to every reunion since the first. There were folks here from over forty states and several other countries. They came by car, train, bus and plane. Some stayed on the grounds in trailers and tents. Meals on the grounds were provided by five churches. Their 'Old Thresher meals' were really that! Much of the credit for the success of the reunions must go for the fine, tasty food prepared and served by the church groups.

Meals on the grounds were provided by five churches. Their "Old Thresher meals" were really that! Much of the credit for the success of the reunions must go for the fine, tasty food prepared and served by the church groups.

Engines which come from Iowa and the surrounding states are hauled by low-boy to the grounds. They started to arrive nearly a week before opening day and there was activity from the very first arrival. Those exhibited are selected by the board for their interest, uniqueness, history, type or make to give a well-rounded selection covering a wide range and having educational value. New ones are added each year. There were 40 of the large ones on display and parade. Each must be state boiler inspected and tested. During the reunion they are in operation much of the time, parading, belted to the Prony brake, Baker fan, sawmill or other machinery, or just idling.

The association has expanded each year; buying more land; putting up a 80' x 80' exhibit building; adding equipment; and depending on volunteer $1 memberships for much of the necessary capital. This has resulted in a deficit. In order to grow and advance a worth while program a charge was made for the first time-----a $1 membership button being the price of admission for an adult over the four days. This resulted in over 21,000 memberships and much favorable comment. All that was necessary was an explanation of the need and the co-operation was there.

brenda edgar
5/20/2009 5:39:06 PM

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