A Tale of Resurrection

| July/August 1962

  • 1882 Harrison engine
    The 1882 Harrison engine as Mr. Kunz found it.
  • Harrison engine
    Look her in the eye and you will see why Mr. Kunz fell in love with her.

  • 1882 Harrison engine
  • Harrison engine

6131 Savio Drive, (Affton) St. Louis 23, Missouri

In the year 1882, exactly eighty years ago, older by far than most readers of this story, steam traction engine No. 714 was built by Harrison Machine Works of Belleville, Illinois.

Rated ten horse power, yet powerful and modern for the era, this engine was fitted with conventional equipment including cross head boiler feed pump and independent steam pump. Despite the fact it incorporated chain drive between crankshaft and idler gear, and that gear arrangement in front of flywheel made belting from the rear a necessity, it must have been considered a prize possession by its original owner. To date, all attempts to ascertain his identity have been without success.

But past and recent history as regards 'Old 714' unfolds a fascinating chain of events which easily approaches the extraordinary. Moreover, at this writing the end of the chapter is nowhere in sight.

Howell Island, located on the Missouri River some twenty miles upstream from St. Charles, Missouri, currently encompasses an area of nearly three thousand acres. It derives its name from an owner listed in early deeds of record. Normally, access is only by boat or barge.

In earlier years items of bulks, alive or otherwise, once transferred from the mainland were never returned. They were destined to finish out their existence amidst the island's eerie surroundings and the prevailing cold, clammy atmosphere.