ADRIAN, MISSOURI A Small Town With A Big Heart

A Small Town With A Big Heart

Mount Vernon School

Mount Vernon School, with two young folks sitting on the steps, reminiscing over their school days. Inset: This year's president, Perry Rexroad, shaking the hand of Don Arndt.

Carl M. Lathrop

Content Tools

511Graff way, Lee's Summit, Missouri 64063

The Western Missouri Antique Tractor and Machinery Association based its shows and club meetings in Adrian, Missouri, since its beginning ten years ago. I'm outlining their history and their present standing as something we can all learn by.

The club originated in a local coffee shop in 1976. The founding president, Don Arndt, and Calvin Feilds were two of the original ones to say, 'We enjoy going to the old iron shows-why don't we start our own group?' So, Western Missouri Antique Tractor and Machinery Association was born, with 35 original members from the local farm community and some 40 miles around.

The first years the group borrowed the Adrian park for their shows. Then one of the city fathers came up with a long term lease ($1.00 per month) for 28 acres of the city park bordering US 71 and Jct MO 18. As the club had a 99 year lease on the park, the group felt safe in acquiring an old one room school house, 12 miles out in the country and moving it to their grounds at the Adrian Jct. Next, a large barn was erected to store the club steam engine, thrashing machines, etc.

About this time the heart of the town began to show as more and more business and civic groups added buildings to the main street (reminiscent of a frontier town). A frontier saloon building was erected to serve meals from. Next, the local banker, Gene Irvin, built his copy of the Old Adrian, Missouri, Banking Company building (which folded in the big depression), and this spring the club women's auxiliary was responsible for acquiring the Spruce, Missouri, Mercantile store and seeing that it was re-erected on the frontier main street (there is one lady carpenter in their group that would put us all to shame!)

All in all, the project is just getting started, you might say. But it's the outpouring from the heart and support of the local towns people that has made this a good club and an outstanding year-round show ground. Many items not mentioned before are stationary and can be seen year-round, such as saw mills (2); windmills (2); sorghum press and boiling vat (we grow our sorghum cane on the show grounds); three large one- and two-lung engines on concrete and under roof; and of course, two old thrashing machines. Many a small child has asked his mom and dad, 'What's that?' as they pass on US 71.

The 8th annual show was held July 25, 26, 27. The accompanying pictures show some of the usual events seen at the Old Iron shows-and some of the not-so-usual.

Thanks, Adrian, and Western Missouri Antique Tractor and Machinery Association.