Old Thresher's Reunion Home to Midwest Memories

The 48th annual Midwest Old Thresher's Reunion in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, attracts steam enthusiasts young and old

| May/June 1998

  • Cadillac & Calliope
    A 1907 Cadillac & Calliope provided lighthearted music on the Old Threshers grounds during the reunion. It made a colorful sight with 10-year-old Jacob Palmer at the keyboard.
  • Reeves steam engine
    The 1882 sorghum press was powered by a Reeves steam engine during a morning of cane pressing. Engine is owned by David, Matthew, and Thomas Welander, whose hometown is Mt. Pleasant.
  • # Picture 01
    Don Hardin of Keokuk, Iowa, was among the volunteers who stayed after the Old Threshers Reunion ended, giving the engines the inevitable clean-up care.
  • Model Russell steam engine
    Eight-year-old Jason Turnbull operated a model Russell steam engine.

  • Cadillac & Calliope
  • Reeves steam engine
  • # Picture 01
  • Model Russell steam engine

Midwest Old Threshers,1887 Threshers Road, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa 52641

Although the grounds are quiet now, the memories of a great 1997 Old Threshers Reunion linger on.

This was the year for some fresh young faces among those seasoned exhibitors at the Reunion, at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. One of the youngest steam enthusiasts was eight-year-old Jason Turnbull, who operated a model Russell steam engine under the supervision of his uncle, Tom Turnbull of Rushville, Missouri. Tom built the model in 1989, and Jason has been running it for about three years.

What's he like about being able to drive the engine? "I like it 'cause it's easy and I like to go fast," replied Jason. Tom said Jason gets a kick out of driving the model engine in the daily Cavalcade of Power before the grandstand. The Turnbull family has been coming to the Old Threshers Reunion since 1976.

Strains of lighthearted calliope music floated over the grounds as another youngster "played" at the Reunion. Ten-year-old Jacob Palmer from Buffalo Prairie, Ill., spent several hours on the 1907 Cadillac and Calliope in front of the crowds all over the grounds. His grandfather, Lawrence Parish of Wapello, Iowa, is the owner of the calliope. He bought the Cadillac the calliope rests on in 1935 for $250. Although it was only Jacob's first year playing the calliope, his two and a half years of piano gave him good training. "The calliope is harder to play because it's louder and the keys are harder to push," he says.

It's not a Cadillac, but the 1910 Hupmobile brought smiles of admiration to the faces of visitors in the Antique Car Building. Bill and Joyce Hudson of Walcott, Iowa, own the buggy-top two-seater with wood spoke wheels which was selected the Car of the Year for the Old Threshers Reunion. The pneumatic four-cylinder two-speed auto had been restored to its present condition when Bill bought it two years ago from a friend and fellow member of the Southeast Iowa Antique Car Club. Even though Bill had to do quite a bit of mechanical work on the Hupmobile, he maintains that he doesn't get overly wrapped up in his antique car work. "This is a hobby for me, not a lifestyle."


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