THE OTHER WOMAN

A Restoration Story About a Buffalo Pitts


| July/August 1999



Buffalo Pitts steam traction engine

802 Shady brook Holland, Michigan 49424

Most of you have experienced this. The 'other woman' enters your life through an unexpected introduction. You meet, take her home, give her a place to stay, and spend all of your spare time and money on her. This is my story.

Her name was Buffy. We were first introduced to each other about 12 years ago by a friend who didn't really understand her. I could see through her rough exterior that she was of fine heritage, and that I had to have her. The farm where she lived for the last 40 years of her life had aged her badly, what with no warm place to hide from the ravages of winter, nor shelter from the northern Michigan weather. Glen, her stepfather, was very possessive, and though he would let many people visit with Buffy, he would let no one attempt to start a relationship with her, for fear that she would leave the farm and never return. After about 10 years of relation-building with Glen, he conceded to let her go, and upon settling on the proper size dowry, she was brought back to Holland to be nursed back to health. Broken bones, cancer, clogged and missing arteries, arthritis, you name it, she had it. Many forms of surgery and medical treatment were required, but after two years of effort, she huffed and puffed back to life, and we have had a great summer together. She currently is in line for some more medical treatment, but will be anxiously awaiting some good times this next summer.

Cheap grocery store romance novels aside, this is the story of my acquisition and restoration of a 15 HP Buffalo Pitts steam tractor that came to life this past summer. The paragraphs above were to tease my wife, as she has gone on record during a newspaper interview last summer at the Riverbend Gas & Steam Engine Show that SHE is the other woman in my life, and that Buffy (her name for the Buffalo) was my first. Yes, our boys and I spent a lot of time working on Buffy these past few years, and all had some great experiences during the restoration, but my wife is still Number One in my life, and always will be. 1 do appreciate her patience with me, though.

Pete LaBelle of 802 Shady-brook, Holland, Michigan 49424, has written the story that begins is 'Buffy,' the 15 HP Buffalo Pitts steam traction engine now in restored condition.

Buffy was shown to me by a soon to become good friend, Maury Faulstich, up near Whittemore, Michigan, about 12 years ago. Buffy belonged to Glen Rose, and it had sat in the same place on the farm that his dad parked it in 1958, not long before he passed away. Glen didn't really have any real interest in the engine, but hoped that his kids might pick up where his dad left off. The engine was in plain sight on a country road, which prompted many offers to buy it. Another one of the classic 'not for sales,' it sat in the field slowly being reclaimed by the earth. Every so often, I'd stop by to talk with Glen and his wife to see what was going on and to check out the status of the engine, pretty much knowing what the answer would be. Then, nearly three years ago, a phone call to him to check on the status of the Pitts was replied with 'What will you give me for it?'. This set me back some, as I had never prepared for this moment. We agreed that a thorough inspection on my part of the Pitts was needed before a true assessment could be made.