Land Between the Lakes Show

Wooden puzzles

The author, known as 'The Puzzle Man,' delighted showgoers with his wooden puzzles.

Johnie R. McElroy

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The Puzzle Man Colorado Springs, Colorado

Photos by Johnie R. McElroy, Route #4, Box 49 Kevil, Kentucky 42053

The very first steam and gas engine show ever to be held on the Tennessee Valley Authority's beautiful 'Land Between the Lakes' area of western Kentucky and Tennessee took place over the Mother's Day weekend, 1989, at the famous Empire Farm in an absolutely pristine and idyllic meadow surrounded by towering oaks and hickories on the shores of the Cumberland River's Lake Barkley.

A superb turnout of some 45 engine exhibitors, representing eight different clubs from the surrounding quad-state area, provided an interesting, informative and colorful display of antique power on the early 20th century American farm.

Rarities and unusual engines easily recognized by the casual observer included Baxter Wallace's 3? HP Brown Marvel, one of only three known in existence. This upright air-cooled engine with its extremely intricate valving and porting mechanism, was the featured cover engine of the October '88 GEM.

Chugging along during the entire 2 day show, at some 100 R.P.M., never missing a lick, was an 8 HP Geiser sideshaft, in beautifully original unrestored condition, certainly proving once more that not all engines must be immaculately painted and polished to be advantageously shown.

A quick stroll among the 100 or so (plus) engines on exhibit turned up a 2? HP Sta-Rite, a 1? HP Bohon, a 4? HP kerosene Olds, built by Seager, as well as a neat little 5/8 HP Nelson Brothers. Unusual, perhaps in this part of the country, was a 5 HP Canadian-built MacLeod, while two rather scarce pre-water-pump 2 HP International Famouses were also in operation.

Rumbling around the grounds, pulling hay wagons and giving kids of all ages a thrill, was an 18-48 Keck Gonnerman steamer, owned by Bob Cantrell, as well as Mike Kilian's ol' Rumely Model H Oil Pull.

All in all, it was difficult to believe that this was the first ever TVA show, so well organized and attended it was, at least by exhibitors. The future bodes full promise, however, of better things to come. Stay tuned to us!