Scene showing some of the displays in the commercial building at Freeport Show. Courtesy of M. L. Althoff, 328 W. Chestnut, Freeport, Illinois 61032.
328 W. Chestnut, Freeport, Illinois 61032.
The Stephenson County Antique Engine Club held its Third Annual Show at the Stephenson County Fairgrounds July 29, 30 1972. The show is drawing much acclaim for its activity and diversity. Not only are steamers and gas engines displayed, but much horse drawn equipment is also shown. The big commercial building is filled with every kind of display one can imagine. There is a complete old time country store, doll collections, old greeting cards, license plates, sale bills and advertising posters going back 100 yrs., blacksmith tools, lanterns, old radios, and small steam models. So, while the men are watching the threshing, the women can spend hours looking at displays of interest to them.
The trademark of the show is activity. It starts at 9 AM with steamers and tractors on the fan. The fan has a tachometer so different tractors can be compared. At 10 the sawmill gets into action. At 11 threshing is done with 3 machines. Also at 11, there is a display of shredding, crushing rock, grinding flour, baling straw, sawing barrel staves, and horses powering an old wooden elevator and buzz saw. At 1:30 the big parade rolls in front of the covered grandstand. After the parade, all of the morning's activity is repeated. So, if one is going to see the whole show in one day, he will have to keep moving.
The steamers in action included a 20 HP Minneapolis, 18 HP Advance Rumely, 40 and 50 HP Case, 25 HP Russel, and a 19 HP Keck Gonnerman. There was a very good line of tractors, over 60 in all, including: 40-80 Avery, 30-60 Aultman-Taylor, 30-60 Oil Pull, 30-60 Keck, 20-40 Case, and a 20-42 Nichols-Shepard. There were also over 100 gas engines of every kind, size, and description. Since Freeport was the home of the Stover Co., the show has a special display of many of the engines and other products made by' this company.
Plans are already under way for next year's show, and the club members have been buying more equipment. Being restored are a 24 HP. Minneapolis steamer with extra heavy gearing and wheels, a 18-36 Pioneer tractor, the only one known to be in this area, and a 12-25 two cylinder Case, one of only six known to be in existence. Next year the club plans its first 3 day show. There will be special activities on Friday, such as an antique tractor pull and steam and gas slow races. So, come to next year's show July 27, 28, and 29 1973 at the fastest growing shows in the country.