Massachusetts Club Seeks New Home

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In June of 1976, six engine and machinery 'bugs' got together on a porch to discuss formation of an antique engine and machinery club. They decided that day to form a club and call it The Pulleys & Flywheels Association. The six founders, Bruce Dexter, Ellsworth Songer, Doug Johnson, Roland Jean, Ed Berquist, and Herman Manson, made their first public showing in July at the New Salem Old Home Days Show. The exhibit was a smash hit.

The club grew to 14 members in merely two months and voted to change the name to Central Massachusetts Steam, Gas, and Machinery Association (CMSGMA). After successfully exhibiting at many fairs and shows, the club found a larger home at the Orange Airport in Orange, Massachusetts. Held every year on the last weekend in June, the show has grown over the years to the limits of the available field. But now, CMSGM has a unique opportunity to purchase a parcel of land to have a permanent home and to take the evergrowing show to the next level.

The new land is an old farm located in Pelham, Massachusetts. About 15 miles south of Orange, the new location has easy access off a state highway and is centrally located in the middle of the state. There are about 40 acres of cleared land, and 40 acres of woodland, giving a total of 80 acres.

Our goal for the new property is to create a type of show that is generally not available in New England. Most shows in New England, including the current show at Orange, have lots of engine and tractor displays brought in by exhibitors, but few if any permanent displays of larger equipment running, such as shingle mills, lumber mills, and the like. Currently there is no space for working tractor displays, such as plowing demonstrations and tractor pulls.

Well, we plan to change that. Our new show will have those things, and many more. There is a lot more we can do when the club owns the property! We hope to have tractor games, tractor pulls, demonstrations, and a vintage line-shaft machine shop (we were just given a bunch of equipment to make this happen!) We also hope to eventually have buildings for large engine and other antique machinery displays. The club also owns two large steam engines. We hope someday to build a structure that can allow these engines, and perhaps others, to run on steam again.

We will offer greatly upgraded food service, as well as entertainment. Space for a flea and craft fair will ensure that family members with interests other than 'old iron' will have plenty to do.

The town of Pelham itself is a small, old New England town. There are many historic buildings here including the town hall, which is the oldest town hall in continual service in the U.S. The property is less than a quarter mile from the town hall.

There are several historic buildings on the property, some of great historical significance to central Massachusetts.

The first is the Kingman Tavern, relocated from the Quabin reservoir basin. Around the turn of the 20th century, several towns in Central Massachusetts were evacuated and flooded to form the Quabin Reservoir, a supply of drinking water for Boston. When the area was evacuated, many of the buildings were sold and moved to higher ground. The tavern was converted into a garage and a shop many years ago, but the club has some pictures of the interior of the tavern in its original state. There are even photos of the last party held there by the townspeople before the town was evacuated. We hope to someday restore the tavern to serve as a centerpiece for our museum.

The next building is a beautiful barn, also moved from the Quabin. The barn is in wonderful shape and is an excellent example of early New England farm architecture. It is a classic farm/hay barn with a nice large loft and plenty of room below. Attached is a large lean-to of modern construction to be used as a storage area for equipment for the show.

There is also a small woodshop and the remains of a blacksmith shop. The woodshop contains a variety of early line-shaft driven, woodworking tools. The farm had been a chicken farm for many years and the woodshop was used to make the cages for the chickens. The blacksmith shop is quite dilapidated, but still has some of its original tools.

In order to make this happen, we need to raise funds to purchase the land (or at least make the down payment), clear the land, and make the necessary improvements to convert the property from a farm into a practical fairgrounds. If you would like to help, we would appreciate any help you can give.

All money raised is put into a trust account and will be returned if the land is not purchased.

CMSGMA is a non-profit organization recognized by the state of Massachusetts (with Federal approval pending.) If you would like to help, please contact any of the following:

CMSGMA, c/o Bill Haxton, 38 Joe Jenny Road, Oxford, MA 01540; Tel: (508) 393-3330, Eves (508) 987-8336.

Mike O'Malley, Tel: (978) 772-2005, Eves (978) 486-8230; Bill Lopoulos, Tel: (978) 649-7879. Or visit the fund-raising homepage at: www.cmsgma.org or e-mail:fund@cmsgma.org.

Our mission has been and continues to be to build on the skills and talents of its membership to provide energy and resources to accomplish these goals.:

1: To promote and encourage the salvage, restoration, and preservation of early engines, tractors, machinery and their related equipment.

2: To promote and encourage public awareness and interest in early engines and equipment both within and without this corporation.

3: To publicly display the aforementioned early engines and related equipment at various exhibitions for the education and entertainment of the public in general.

Hope to see you at the show!