Report of the PONTIAC REUNION -1953

| March/April 1954

The City of Pontiac, Illinois, lies 100 miles southwest of Chicago and 200 miles northeast of St. Louis on route 66. Its population is about 9,000, though no one seems to be sure whether that figure does or does not include the population of the state penitentiary located in the city; the penitentiary's population is or was at last count1,475.

It's a nice town, Pontiac. It has a number of pleasant parks, well-kept residential sections, and the Vermilion River. The people are friendly. The town's problems are those faced by thousands of similar communities: schools are becoming overcrowded, the sewer systems need modernization, it's getting harder and harder to find a parking space near the courthouse square.

To farmers throughout the Midwest and the rest of the nation, Pontiac, Illinois, the seat of Livingston County, means one thing and one thing only: the annual Central States Threshermen's Reunion.

They pour in from all over, the old timers and their families, to see the huffing, clanking, puffing threshers and steam engines do their stuff. The citizens of Pontiac shake their heads in disbelief. They're glad the festival is popular, but they'd like someone to tell them why.

The fame and popularity of the event is particularly remarkable considering the lack of expensive, high pressure publicity in the past. The only paid advertising in other years the first reunion was in 1949 was the mailing out of approximately 300 handbills to regular members of the Threshermen's Association. This year 7,000 handbills were sent an over the United States, and ads were placed in farm magazines.

Each year the news then carries itself across the nation on the airwaves and pages of country weeklies, riding a wave of nostalgic enthusiasm for the old-time threshers' get-together.