Box 33, Strum Wisconsin 54770
Perfect weather marked the 6th annual steam observance held here
in the hill country of Western Wisconsin last Aug. 8-10.
At least a thousand people milled around the grounds on Friday,
watching the setting up, initial firing and running of equipment.
Five times that many entered the 18 acre show ground area on
Saturday when the program ran continuously with special events
interspersed. J.I. Case company was well represented, Louie Slabik,
Merle McCart, Lyal Hardesty and Alfred Gunderson had products of
the Racine manufacturer. Mort Moe and Geo Loomis had engines of the
Great Minneapolis Line, Loomis also brought an Advance Rumely.
Harold Churchill of Elmwood ran a double simple Rumely and a small
upright, with his two grandsons as assistants. Tom Bible and Wilbur
Skaar presented a fine looking Reeves to appreciative steam buffs.
It ran as well as it appeared.
The Strum Club owns an upright for fuel purposes and the Beef
River Flyer, a 19 gauge steam train. The latter ran continually all
three days, pulling 4 cars with 32 passengers each trip.
Missing this year was ‘Steam Engine Joe’ Rynda and his
wooden-wheeled Aultman-Taylor. A truckers miscalculation deprived
the gathering of this feature, Joe however made the event and rode
in the parade.
It has been customary to offer an outdoor festival church
service at the Strum show. A perfectly still clear Sunday morning
greeted nearly 1500 who filled the stands to overflowing before
9:15. Pastor Luther Monson conducted the worship.
The steam show opened at 11 A.M. and continued into the noon
hour. Incoming crowds had begun assembling along the parade route
long before the starting time of 1:30; and when bombs and steam
whistles announced the beginning of the festival grand parade,
viewers were massed 20 deep at some points.
The usual festival theme of ‘A Century of Change’ was
supported by Loyalty and Patriotism this year, featuring Army and
Navy bands plus a memorial unit of over 100 men. Sixty of this last
group wore authentic uniforms, carried authentic arms and flags of
every major war in which the U.S. has been engaged.
Forty-two servicemen carried state flags of as many states, a
very colorful pageantry. Steam engines and agricultural equipment
some portraying the change over the last century concluded this
part of the program. (25-30,000 in attendance)
The Strum club has never charged an admission fee at their show.
We, however, do control all concessions, some of which bring
substantial monetary returns. This policy demands good
administration as can be exemplified by food sales alone; over 320
ladies worked in five hour shifts handling this end of the services
provided. As the village of Strum has only 750 residents one can
readily appreciate the tremendous support from the rural folk who
take a great interest in the steam show.
During the event nearly three thousand copies of the 1969
program booklet moved into eager hands. The 48 page phamphlet has
nearly 40 pictures and articles of interest, among them some very
unusual photos. It will be mailed anywhere postpaid for 50
Plans are underway for the 1970 show with a special effort to
make it better in every way.