328 W. Chestnut, Freeport, Illinois 61032
On July 26, 27, and 28, 1974 the Stephenson County Antique Engine Club held its fifth annual show at the fairgrounds in Freeport, Ill. It is hard to believe that in April of 1970, we were just a small group of about thirty people with just a dream of putting on a threshing show in the Preeport area. Now, we have a membership of around 300, have our own large building for storage and permanent displays, a sawmill set up permanently under roof, and have just purchased a ten ton machinery trailer for hauling equipment to the show. Plus, we stage one of the largest shows in the Midwest. Most people who come to our show for the first time say, 'I didn't realize you had this big of a show.'
This year the show was the biggest ever with over 8000 people attending. We had 10 large steam engines, over 60 tractors, 150 gas engines, 20 antique cars, 10 teams of draft horses, plus the big exhibit hall full of smaller items. The big 60 HP Fairbanks-Morse diesel which was just finished for last year's show looked like new this year with a fresh coat of black paint, surrounded by a new railing which made it look like it was back in the water works at Geneseo, Ill. We also started a blacksmith shop which will be completed in years to come.
The steamers this year were a 25 HP Russell, 24 HP Minneapolis, 20 HP Reeves, 50 HP Case, 40 HP Case, Case road roller, 18 HP Advance Rumely, 19 HP Keck Gonnerman, 19 HP Port Huron, and 16 HP Port Huron. All were in operation running separators, sawmill, baker fan, shredders, and a couple even got in on Friday's antique tractor pull.
The list of tractors reads like an old Chilton Tractor Index40-80 Avery, 30-60 Aultman Taylor, 30-60 E OilPull, 15-30 one cylinder Oil. Pull, 20-40 Case, 12-25 Case, 20-42 Nichols Shepard, 18-36 Pioneer, Caterpillar 10, 15, and 30, Allis Chalmers E and WC, McCormick 10-20, 15-30, WK 40, F-20, F-12, John Deere D, A, AR, BR, G, GP, Wide Tread GP, and Waterloo Boy, Fordson, Massey Harris Challenger, Hart Parr, 30, 28-50, and 28-44, Case CC, L, and RC. Many of these tractors competed in Friday's tractor pull and all went through the parade. They also were used on the fan, threshing, baling straw, shredding, crushing rock and shelling corn. This is one of the finest displays of tractors you will see at any show. A new trend was started in 'gasoline alley', instead of the gas engines just sitting there, quite a few of the owners are finding equipment to belt them to such as washing machines, pump jacks, churns, cream separators and generators.
The fine teams of horses at our show are kept busy. Besides pulling bundle and grain wagons, all of our horse equipment such as mower, rake, cultivator, sulky plow, and binders are pulled through the parade. In fact, this year we even raked and loaded hay with an old hay loader right in front of the grandstand during the parade. That is something most of the younger generation have never seen. This year Ropp's Draft Horses were performing maneuvers in front of the grandstand with a 10 horse hitch.
Our show has just as much to offer the ladies as the men. The big 200' exhibition hall is full of displays that the ladies will like. Our old country kitchen was back this year along with an old living room and washhouse. There was a beautiful display of coffee grinders of every type. Also, antique dolls, greeting cards, movie posters, sale bills, license plates, keys, eye glasses, and antique home appliances. The ladies of our club put a tremendous amount of work all year into making handicrafts to sell in their novelty booth. They also sell the buckwheat, whole wheat, rye flour and cornmeal that is freshly ground at the show with the 100 yr. old stone mill.
We have already started working on next year's show. We are going to try some new ideas and improve on the old ones. Come to our show July 25, 26, 27, 1975. I am sure you won't be disappointed.