Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum

Samson Sieve-Grip

Dave and Karen Olfson on a Samson Sieve-Grip in the museum parade.

Content Tools

9152 Hector St., San Diego, CA 92123

We're nearing the end of another successful year in Vista, California, where the California Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association, Inc. is building a museum.

The California Early Day Association puts on 4 weekends of threshing bee and engine show each year to raise money to build the museum. The shows are always the 3rd and 4th weekends in June and the 3rd and 4th weekends in October. The Club is building the museum in south Guajome Park, Vista, California. The Gaujome Park is a 566 acre Regional Park and the Club has a 20 year lease on 40 acres in the park. We raise wheat, oats, and barley for our threshing bee. We stack the grain we do not use in June and hold it for the October threshing. Our attendance this year was well over 40,000 which certainly helps the Club's goal to get the museum built.

Several new things have happened in the last year so we will give you a little idea of what happened in the next few paragraphs.

Gas engine row completely went through from base up to restore the 3 cylinder Fairbanks-Morse 'Y' engine and for the first time in 50 years it was running at the October show. It is a real attraction for the public to see the fellows start this monster. After heating all three heads and then giving the engine a shot of fuel and air, it is a thrill to see the black smoke belching from the thirty foot high smoke stack. Many thanks go to Walt Erickson, Don Alden, Elmer Mueller and friends for their many hours of work this year.

This year we got the sawmill in full operation. Bert Nintemann has some new young help who he is helping educate on sawmill operations. When we see youngsters like Ron &. Junior Evans, Bryan Klinck, and people like Bert Ninteman and Dale Boss playing together to learn sawmilling, we know that our hobby will continue long after we're gone.

Ace Wischstadt has been putting the 60 HP Case on the sawmill and training his two boys how to operate the Case. We had some walnut logs donated to put through the mill and that Case sounded nice.

The Country Kitchen and Parlor were very interesting to all of the ladies in attendance. We saw Helen Tietsort, Beverly Krueger and of course my wife, Betty May, making corn bread, cooking beans, churning butter and I think I saw cookies too. The Country Kitchen had a special visitor in the person of Teddy Bear from Roanoke, Illinois. Teddy traveled with the Marlborough Chuck Wagon for many years and has been a club member for over 10 years. Look for him to be back in Vista for 1986 shows.

Shirley Boss was very busy in the Parlor making quilt squares. Frances Freiling did her share of quilt squares also. I saw other ladies in the Parlor, tying quilts and making the squares, who I did not recognize. The gals who have been a very big part of our organization will be back in 1986.

One of the most important reasons for the museum is the educational aspect for the younger generation. Our Administrative Assistant, Heather Johnson, is responsible for putting that part in operation. We have school days 2 times a year once in May and then again in October. Many volunteers from the Club put on a mini-show just for school kids. We had over 20 different schools represented and 1500 children on field trips. The volunteers demonstrate the Country Kitchen and Parlor, the steam and gas engines, the sawmill in operation. Where else can the kids see steam power, gas power, wind power, horse power and man power all in one spot? The field trips by the school kids have been so well received that the museum has had to go to the 2nd day with the mini-show. We would encourage the other Clubs to consider doing more of this for the kids.

The fellows on steam engine row under the guidance of Wes Hamilton, Dave Denny and friends kept the boiler fired all day so that there was plenty of steam to run the 200 HP Allis-Chalmers-built Corliss and the other dozen or so smaller steam engines. One of the steam engines was belted to a stone burr mill where Helen Hutchings and Jane Wisch-stadt were kept busy grinding corn meal and wheat for the customers.

Also there were many models set up in the Ashbeck building that drew extensive interest. I saw model steam and gas engines both being operated by Cecil Heyn, Ernie Goddard, and their friends. So many other attractions with their draft horses, the Mike Ames musical Belgian-Dance-Band, Razzle-Dazzle musical group doing tunes from the 40's, square dancing, doggers and Blue-grass music provided almost continuous entertainment in front of the grand stand.

Our biggest encouragement last year was to get the grant to build our blacksmith shop and have the shell completed in 1985. At the June show, Don Finney, Richard Shrader, Joe Nielsen and fellow blacksmiths shod horses, made horse shoes, rings, and all kind of trinkets that kept the customers entertained. We had an open house in May with mayors, senators, and county supervisors and many dignitaries in attendance.

The Farm Committee put on a good show this year. We saw Kenny Dutenhoffer with his John Deere 'A' (with fenders) working the ground and planting oats and barley last spring. The Jondle boys with their 8N Ford, Ernie Walker on the Cletrac, disking with Lee Stephens and Al Luedtke trying to keep everything in working order. In June we saw Virgil White with John Deere 'A' tractor and binder, Charlie Pfrunder with his newly restored McCormick-Deering binder cutting and binding oats and barley. I saw Bill Rohr riding one of the binders, then Bill Rohr and Ken Morgan out shocking the oats. Late December saw the boys getting ready for the 1986 crops under the guidance of Virgil White and Charlie Pfrunder. Thanks to all the farmers who helped us in 1985.

A special thanks to the many fine Club families who help us put on our two shows each year. Without the many volunteer hours the museum could not have been built.

The Antique Gas and Steam Engineers had a super year in 1985 and appreciate the support of the many visitors. If any one wants more information, please contact our Administrative Assistant, Heather Johnson, at 2040 N. Santa Fe, Vista, CA 92083.