The first annual meet of the recently organized Williams Grove
Steam Engine Association sparked a tremendous revival of Central
Pennsylvania’s famous Granger’s Picnic at the old grove
near Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.
Attracted by a program of steam traction engine operated
threshing outfits, sawmill, shingle mill, log jumping, Baker fan
and teeter-totter, more than 100,000 spectators crowded the
spacious grounds during the week long show. This was more than
triple the attendance of last year’s Granger’s Picnic and
was one of the largest crowds ever to visit the grove, according to
Roy E. Richwine, Jr., who arranged for the big steam show in
cooperation with Ralph Hull, of Enola, Pa., President of the steam
For a week in advance of the event a group of hard working
members transported and set up all the equipment necessary, some
days toiling until late at night to complete the big task. This
group was headed by William Strayer and William King, both of
Dillsburg, Pa., and supervised by Mr. Richwine and Mr. Hull.
Another group with Samuel Osborne, Edward Yeager and Morris
Schoffner, assisted in arranging a program of events and setting up
supplementary displays of antique farm equipment and household
Old time farm meals were served to the public by the Franklin
town Fire Company Auxiliary, but association workers ate their
meals in a typical old farmhouse kitchen, set up in a tent by
Osborne and Yeager. Cooking was by Mrs. Yeager assisted by her
husband and Paul G. Keller, ex-army cook, who also helped on the
set-up crew. A number of members stayed at the grove for the entire
period of time, sleeping in the various tents on the grounds.
The opening event of the week was a large antique auto show
Sunday, August 30, which attracted large crowds an helped spread
the word about the steam exhibit. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday saw
the completion of the setting up of the displays and individual
operation of engines. Thursday an old-time horse and buggy show was
featured in addition to an extensive program of steam events.
Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Labor Day were the big steam days,
with throngs crowding every available inch of space.
One of the big attractions was a ‘hay ride’ behind one
of the big engines. Others, of course, included the operation of
the shingle and saw mills and the grand parades. A number of model
traction and stationary steam engines were on exhibit and operating
in addition to more than a dozen different makes of old gasoline
Several Oil-Pull tractors owned by President Hull, an old Frick
owned by Morris Schoffner, plus a number of others including an
ancient International also drew their share of attention, as did a
pulling contest between a steamer and an Oil-Pull, in which the
steamer emerged victorious.
Supplementing the old time equipment was a separate display of
modern farm tractors and machinery.
Owing to the very short time between the closing of the Williams
Grove show and the deadline for copy it was impossible to include
all the details and give proper credit to all those who unselfishly
gave of their time and money to make this first show the huge
success that it was. If possible, additional information will be
published in the next issue of the IRON-MEN ALBUM.