Vigo County Fair Gas Engine and Steam Threshing Show


| May/June 1990



Baker engine

Retubing the Bob Johnson Baker engine. Temperature was 100!

1830 So. Fifth Street Terre Haute, Indiana 47802.

Since becoming a member of the Vigo County Fair Association, it seems I can't keep my hand down at the meetings. I took the task of forming the steam power show in conjunction with the gas engine show which is chaired by Coen Hutchinson.

There hadn't been a threshing show at our county fair for 15 years, and the fair has been slipping a little. I thought about it a long time, and realized that something new and exciting would help.

Mrs. Eula Drew, owner of the Great James H. Drew Exposition Carnival out of Augusta, Georgia, is a dear friend of mine of 40 years. Her son Jimmie is now the owner. Eula asked me to join the Fair Association and to put my efforts into it. I retired from the Fire Department after thirty years of service. I then created the Fire-Police Museum in 1980 and had devoted most of my time to its operation. The Drew Carnival has been on the midway at our fair for 30 years, and we hope, for many years to come. The fair board asked me to look into the possibility of putting a steam threshing show together which would boost the fair's first two days attendance.

I broke into steam while living at a children's home here. My job was working in the steam power house. We had two return tube Atlas boilers and three steam engines, so I was well broken in after four years.

This was a challenge and a chance to get back into steam. So I called the old pro, Bob Johnson, of North Terre Haute, Indiana, who has owned two Baker engines and a Nichols & Shepard engine plus other steam related equipment. We sat down and laid out our plans. The first thing was to find equipment needed. Johnson's engine needed new flues, so we all pitched in and put the new flues in the Baker. Helping on the project were Leland Creed, Lloyd Creed, Dennis Ross, and Tom Champion. The Baker is a 21-75. This was in June, 1988 and it was 100 degrees in the shade. We worked up to within one week of the fair to complete the job.