Farm Collector

Scott-Carver Threshers Celebrate 20 Years

Box 317, Mound, MN 55364

John Sohoening, Maple Plain, has returned this 1914 50 HP Case
to its original pristine condition and parades it daily at the
Scott-Carver Steam and Gas Engine Festival.

As the Scott-Carver Threshers near Jordan, Minnesota, get
steamed up for their twentieth festival, their founder marvels at
their growth and progress.

Birth came to this group when Ernie Morrell suggested to his
nephew Ken Scott that they go out to the old farm place and fire up
grandpa’s engine. Like all good ideas, it grew and grew. Next
it was, ‘Why don’t we hook onto the old separator and
thresh some grain?’ Ernie never realized how that gem of an
idea would become the glistening jewel it is today.

Buildings on their show grounds seem to grow like the prairie
flowers, events increase like the wild mustard in the ripening
wheat fields, thus the old timer’s dream of having the most
complete show in the Twin City area seems to be coming to

This 1910 Advance Steam Engine is one of the two engines that
started the Scott-Carver Steam and Gas Engine Festival in 1964. It
is now owned by Fritz Widmer, Mound, MN, and is being drive here by
Jack Valek, Spring Park, MN.

Sunup Friday morning, the second weekend in August, brings John
Schoening, Maple Plain, and Rudy Adams, LeSueur, hustling to their
steam engines so they can be the first to build the fire to get
steam up. As the morning dew sparkles in the early sunshine, one of
them triumphantly sounds the wake-up whistle, signaling to all the
members that it’s time to steam, chug and whistle for three

John’s sidekick, Ed Soley, in his bright
green-and-pink-striped bib overalls (real eye-catchers), is usually
the first to catch the aroma of sausage and pancakes drifting from
the food stand, operated by members and their families. Throughout
the day, one can find Ron Scott and many others flipping pancakes
and then hamburgers over the hot grill.

As the morning wears on and more and more steam trails mark the
sky, the Scott-Carver engineers fire up their favorite steam
engines: Walt Zimmerman, his 1906 Case; Jim Mollenhauer, his 1923
Minneapolis; Rudy Adams, his 1920 Minneapolis; Joe Selly, his 1915
Advance; Denny Ames, his 1895 Advance; John Schoening, his 1916
Minneapolis; Jack Valek, his 1906 Advance; and Fritz Widmer, his
1910 Advance.

Visitors at the Scott-Carver Threshing Festival ask engineer Joe
Selly, St. Peter, MN, about his engine and inspect his
engineer’s license.

By mid-morning over 300 antique farm and industrial machines are
in action operating as they did at the turn of the century. Burning
wood and water to build steam, the gigantic steam engines are
belted to separators throughout the weekend to thresh the stacks
and loads of rye and oats. The planting and harvesting of this
grain is done by Reuben Boettcher and Bill Sobiech of Jordan. After
they coax the binder to spit out the hundreds of bundles, the
really devoted threshers realize how rough things were in the old
days when they have to shock the grain.

Highlighting each day is the 2 P.M. parade which includes the
massive steam engines, the antique autos and trucks, the old
tractors, and the antique farm machinery and construction
equipment. Other show attractions include an 1889 operating steam
fire engine (owned by the Jordan Fire Department and restored by
Ernie Morrell and Bill Olander), a shingle mill, a lath mill, a
drag saw, a buzz saw, a straw baler, an 1880 schoolhouse and an
early 1800’s log house.

As smoke trails through the Saturday afternoon sky, fiddlers of
all ages from Minnesota and Wisconsin compete at 4 P.M. for cash
prizes in the annual fiddling contest. Sunday afternoon includes a
bluegrass or country-western band entertaining in the main picnic

Along with the steam engines and gas tractors, Gordon
Klehr’s and Al Smith’s Belgium and Percheron draft horses
plow the fields with a walking plow, a sulky, and one-bottom,
two-bottom and three-bottom plows. During the parade, they pull all
the horse-drawn equipment, including the fire engine.

Operating for the first time in 1982 after hundreds of hours of
sweat and toil by many members was the huge NSP stationary steam
engine that was donated to the club several years ago. Clanking in
the same building are the hammers of Ralph Harvey and Martin
Luebke, as they pound souvenir horseshoes in the blacksmith

New also in 1982 was the book and magazine shop, operated by
Dorothy O’Day of Jordan, where she sells reprints (of manuals
for many types of machinery), cookbooks, and fancy work books, as
well as subscriptions to Iron Men Album!

Needless to say, Ernie looks on in wonder, sometimes unable to
believe what a legacy he innocently created for his friends and
relatives twenty years ago.

  • Published on Jul 1, 1983
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