Miniature Engine Collector

First Miniatureland

This photo is of the first Miniatureland of 74-year old John Barklow.

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317 W. Locust St. St. Peter, MN 56082

In 1979, I joined the LeSueur County Pioneer Power Association. I had one gas engine Pd bought and restored. It was a 1? HP. By show time, I had a 1? HP John Deere Pd found in a friend's chicken house all chicken tar and feathers. I gave it a bath and had it running in time for the show.

After one show loading those two engines I decided they were too heavy for me to handle. I had just retired from my truck driving job and have a weak back.

I am not an engineer or a tool and die maker so I decided to find something smaller. My son John Jr. is a tool and die man so he said, 'let's build some miniatures.' So I said to him, 'if you build some, I'll buy some.' He started and built a miniature Associated (Little Brother) air cooled engine.

I bought a Coles engine. Then I bought an Associated (Little Brother) air cooled.

Prior to the shows and the first D-40, my son bought me a toy steam tractor and he bought the stationary steam engine D-20.and the workshop M56 (Wilesco) all on page 55, April . issue of GEM.

We kept building and buying until 1973. I asked the officers of the LeSueur County Pioneer Assn. for a small building to exhibit. And before I knew it they had a 16 x 20 foot building for us.

We filled that building to the rafters the first year. And I said rafters because a train collecting friend came to me and asked how we would like to build shelves and put toy trains up above the doors and windows. We made a shelf wide enough to run two trains, one each direction. What an attraction that was!

In the 1974 show we moved all steam engines upon tables and moved all gas engines outside under a lean-to under a canvas tarp. Before this show, in August of 1974, I wrote to a lot of friends I'd met (by going to swap meets and shows) and invited them to come and bring their miniature gas, steam and hot air engines to our Miniature Land at the LeSueur Pioneer Power Show. The response was unbelievable. We had 40 steam engines of all descriptions and 50 to 60 miniature gas engines from the single cylinder Hit & Miss to Model V 8's, V 4 airplane engines of all sizes under our outside lean-to.

To speed this up, I'd like to say I sent out more letters and more friends came and brought more miniatures. In 1986 we had 50 to 60 working model steam engines, over 100 working model gas engines. Also, in 1986 we added a 17 x 34 foot old granary to our Miniatureland. In this building we expanded to model horse-drawn farm equipment.

One of our model builders built a miniature saw mill. We had a sales-mans sample of an old time slat grain elevator, one lady friend has collected miniature sewing machines, all of this filled our new 17 x 34 foot building.

On this last building, (it was moved in off a cement floor) it gave us one of the greatest restoration jobs most of us have ever undertaken. It needed a new roof completely, floor joists, flooring, the side wall studs were native lumber and no two were the same width. We restored it completely by using lumber salvaged out of old barns, granaries, and the only thing we bought was 25 sheets of particle board for the side walls.

Now as Manager of Miniatureland I claim our show, the LeSueur County Pioneer Power, has the largest collection of operating miniatures of all kinds, steam gas, hot air and trains.

Our 14th annual show dates this year are August 28, 29 30 1987. Location: 6 miles east of LeSueur MN on County Road 26. East of Montgomery MN on County Road 26, and 8 miles north and 1? miles east of Cleveland MN. My son and I have a great collection of miniatures.

I'd like to hear from you and any minature builders.