The National Pike Steam, Gas and Horse Association is alive and growing. Although not quite 6 years old, the Association, which has increased its membership by over 600, is a dream come true for a few local men. According to Norma Weaver, Secretary of the organization, every time her husband Tom, Bob Livingston, Dean Redd, Lindsey Gillis and Ed Neale would get together the talk would always turn to the existence of a steam show on their own fairgrounds. This conversation continued for many years until the summer of 1980 when they all realized that none of them was getting any younger and if they were to realize their dream, they should do something quickly.
There is nothing like having your own grounds for expansion such as buildings and to be able to house many of the items/machinery thus eliminating costly transportation fees.
They conferred with some of the younger members of the Gillis and Weaver families, who also showed an interest in the project.
After 5 acres on top of a mountain in Washington County was donated by Bob Livingston, and after an after an accessible road up the mountain, built by Dean Redd, the National Pike Steam, Gas and Horse Association was born in November 1980.
During the past 5 years, the organization grew from 20 people standing in the woods to over 600 members, all interested in preserving an early American heritage.
The storage building, a combination office and announcers stand, comfort facilities and 8 acres of cleared parking has been added. Within the last 2 years an entertainment center has been added, a Blacksmith Shop operated by Dave Vincetti, our 'ace' blacksmith, and Bob Livingston donated a '00' Frick Saw Mill, rebuilt and set up permanently on cement foundation and housed under an attractive structure. The saw mill is powered by his 1922 Frick 16 HP Portable engine. This latest addition was set up and constructed by Bob Livingston with the aid of a few members. Also set up permanently on the grounds is a unique Stone Crusher.
Since 1980 there has been 35 additional acres purchased from Bob Livingston for the show grounds to expand and grow in the future. Considerable clearing of trees and under brush has been accomplished.
The 6th Annual National Pike Steam, Gas and Horse Association Show will be held August 8, 9, 10, 1986 at the organization's fairgrounds located just off Route 40, 4 miles West of Brownsville or 20 miles East of Washington.
Featured will be threshing, baling, steam traction and portable engines. Gas engines, tractors, saw milling, shingle making, crafts, quilt making, flea market, pony and hay rides. Food booths featuring old-fashioned foods, like bean soup cooked in large iron kettles over open fires, corn bread and funnel cakes, and entertainment including the Monongahela Riflemen and the Scenery Hill Buckskinners.
There is also a picnic area, playground and parades held every day. Also featured will be antique cars and trucks, 1907 Keystone Water Well Drilling rig which during the 1984 Show, had successfully drilled and hit water at a depth of 90 feet. Two Keystone Shovels1915 Steamer and 1926 gasoline powered, a 1924 Fordson Shovel, a 1919 Buffalo Springfield Roller, a 65 HP Frick Portable Steam Engine, which all have been restored by Dean Redd of Charleroi, Pennsylvania.
The newcomers for this year's show are: 1926 B2 Erie Shovel, and a 55 ton Porter Steam Locomotive, made in Pittsburgh, PA in 1914. These items will have permanent residence at the fairgrounds and future plans are to have a railroad track on the fairgrounds.
The new fairgrounds in Washington County will eventually feature a museum dedicated to the preservation of antique machinery and steam machines in general.
The site is ideal for parking, shaded by tall poplar trees, patches of velvety moss make comfortable resting spots and a walk through the woods can reveal uncountable surprises from roaming deer to unfurling fiddle ferns.
Tom Weaver of Canonsburg has been our Show manager for the past five years and has done an outstanding job in coordinating all the ongoing activities during the shows. His wife, Norma, has been the Secretary of our organization for the past 5 years and has also done an excellent job. Their daughter, Virginia Simon, newly elected Secretary, is carrying on the family tradition and is doing a fine job.
Mr. Livingston, a retired employee of the Allen port Plant of the Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel, spends considerable time at the Fairgrounds, just 5 minutes from his farm home, sawing lumber, renovating as well as patrolling the area for security of the park as well as the housed machinery and buildings.
A small admission fee is charged but children under 12 are admitted free. Senior Citizens are admitted at one-half price Friday. Officers of the Organization are: Bob Livingston, President; Lee Gillis, Vice President; Irene Vincetti, Treasurer; and Virginia Simon, Secretary.