Forty-five thousand persons in one day, and a total of 150,000
for nine days of show staged by the Williams Grove Steam Engine
Association was the astonishing record set for the second annual
exhibit of the group before and over the Labor Day weekend.
Organized in March 1959, the association grew amazingly and was
able to put on its first show over Labor Day of that year in
connection with the famous Grangers Picnic at Williams Grove, Pa.
Interest in the activity was evidenced by the late Roy E. Richwine,
Sr. and his son Roy E., Jr. who cooperated in the staging of the
Again this year the senior Mr. Richwine indicated his faith in
the project by approving the erection of a permanent building to be
operated by the association on the fairgrounds. This structure was
in the course of construction at the time of Mr. Richwine’s
sudden death. It was finished under the direction of his son who
labored long hours to assure its use during the show.
A total of 21 steam traction engines of many makes and sizes; 5
portable engines, one steam roller and one steam shovel
participated in the program of activities which included threshing
grain, running sawmill, shinglemill, stone crusher, and in pulling
contests, plus teeter-totter balancing. There were also 7 model
steam traction engines, several of which had just been completed
before the show, which drew an immense amount of attention. A fine
display of miniature steam engines, plus models of old-time farm
equipment, were an added attraction.
Special programs during the nine days of the show included an
‘Antique Car Day’ the first Sunday and a ‘Horse and
Buggy Day’ the second Sunday. In between the permanently-placed
sawmill was in operation as was the shingle mill, stone crusher,
steam shovel and at least two of the six fully equipped threshing
rigs on the grounds. Seven acres of grain was threshed as a part of
Crowds milled through the partially completed museum building
which was loaded with displays and housed a trading post operated
by Maurice Shoffner and a blacksmith shop run by Sam Osborne, who
shoed horses as hundreds looked on. Old time horse-drawn vehicles
of all descriptions, mostly owned by Sam Osborne and Ed Yeager,
were on display and many used in the ‘Horse and Buggy Day’
program which featured over 150 head of horses plus exhibits by
several riding clubs. The show was managed by Ed Yeager and Leo
Riding clubs taking part in the show included Forry’s
Champion Drill Team, the Whitehorse Club, the Bonnybrook Club and a
One of the main attractions on the grounds was Ed Yeager’s
antique kitchen and dining tent, where meals were prepared and
served to association members in the old-time manner. Yeager,
assisted by Paul G. Keller and a number of wives of association
members, boiled and sold apple butter on the site and prepared
appetizing meals on an old slab wood cook stove.
A total of 65 single cylinder gas engines of all makes and sizes
took a popular place on the program as well as the Baker Pan and
Dynamotor, both of which put the big steam engines to test.
Association members headed by President Ralph Hull and Roy E.
Richwine, Jr. worked long hard hours to set up, run and dismantle
the show. Especially active were Tobey Bell, Master Mechanic; Bill
King, Chief Engineer; George Fawber, Secretary Treasurer; Leroy
Shugart, Membership Secretary, plus many others like Ed Yeager,
Maurice Shoffner, Paul Keller, Bill Strayer, Bill Berkheimer, and
Bill Fisher. These were assisted on a part-time basis by a large
segment of the membership.
Outstanding assistance in the kitchen was given by wives of
members including Mrs. William Strayer, Mrs. Annie Yeager, Mrs.
David Shearer, Mrs. Mary Beck, Mrs. Edna Rouzer and
Again the steam-drawn hayride was the most popular attraction on
the grounds, followed closely by the pony ride. The big parades of
equipment also drew the crowds and cedar shingles were sold almost
as fast as they could be made.
All in all the event was one of the outstanding ones of its kind
in the state and already plans for a bigger and better show next
year are in the making.