Antique Engine & Tractor Association Celebrates New Permanent Home

A five acre plot of land

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Pres. 3711 S. Hampton Dr., Bettendorf, Iowa 52722

In the late 1950s a group of engine collectors around the Geneseo, Illinois area had been organized by the Early Day Gas Engine Club, as Branch #2.

In 1965 the Antique Engine And Tractor Association Inc., was chartered as a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation, restoration and display of operating antique farm machinery and related items of interest.

With the annual show being held at different locations over the years, the loss of older members, and the club not attracting younger people as new members, a permanent building and show site was needed to ensure the club's future.

An invitation came to the Antique Engine And Tractor Association, Inc. from the mayor and city fathers of Atkinson, Illinois in the spring of 1980 to help in the sesquicentennial celebration of the town.

Plenty of work was done by members of both organizations to level off a strip mine area, pick up rocks, and seed the site. After the 2 day celebration was over, when the last items had been put away, and the dust had settled, a label of success was put on the event.

Early in 1981, the Antique Engine and Tractor Association Inc. and the city of Atkinson sponsered the first annual Atkinson Illinois Agricultural Heritage Days. This event was also held on the strip mine site, and was a success.

Because the strip mine site was no longer available for the third annual Agricultural Heritage Days, the city fathers made a larger site available on land owned by the town on the northwest edge.

By the time the fourth annual Agricultural Heritage Days rolled around, a permanent agreement was being discussed. In May 1985, the Atkinson City Council voted to grant a 20 year lease for one dollar per year, on a five acre plot of land.

The Antique Engine and Tractor Association Inc. board and the officers were directed by the members to enter an agreement with the city by proposing a permanent building on the grounds.

After all the affairs were put in order, the lease was signed by both parties. In July 1985, the Antique Engine and Tractor Association Inc. took possession of a tan building trimmed in brown which measured 45' X 60'. That same week, members made arrangements for floor fill and ramps at the entrances. In the meantime, the electricity was installed. With seeding, mowing, and lots of rain, a nice green cover was present on the grounds. For an antique water pumping display, a 24-foot-deep tube was installed and a pump and pump-jack attached to it to be run by a gas engine.

The first day of the 24th annual show came with a pancake and sausage breakfast starting at 6 A.M. At 9 A.M. the mayor, the president of the Atkinson State Bank, and Board of Officers of the club started the building dedication ceremony. After speeches were heard, rosette dedication ribbons were handed out by the club president.

A Waterloo 1 HP engine and a John Deere 'A' tractor stood ready to break a club colors streamer ribbon fastened to each from a stake in the center of the building's mail entrance.

After the engines were started and their representative halves broken, all present, waved to the camera for a photograph, marking the opening of permanent site agreement, a stronger commitment is seen in the membership for a future of its club.

Many personal contributors, extra work on the show's food line, bake sale, popping pop corn and the consignment auction, all will help to pay off the mortgage the board and officers has signed, and will help to make improvements on the site.

In 1986, we'll hold our 25th Annual Show August 14-17.