250 Robinson Road, Cave junction, Oregon 97523
Every year the Branch 9 spring 'gas-up' gets better, and the crowds get larger to see the many antique engines, tractors and other exhibits at 'Pottsville', a made-up town near Merlin, just north of Grants Pass, Oregon. Even the name Merlin conjures up magical visions dating back to King Arthur's time, and seeing the old-time blacksmithing, weaving, quilting and other old time crafts one could just imagine being back in the olden times.
Luckily, while it rained at all surrounding towns, an angel was evidently watching over the Pottsville show, as not a drop fell during the exhibit hours. Since this was only the third annual show open to the public (a smaller gas-up is held each fall at various members' places), a name has not really been decided upon. Many clubs and organizations use names like Pioneer Days, Old Time Thresher's Reunion, Historical Steam Festival, Antique Power Plowing Matches, and similar titles, but Pottsville is relatively new and still growing and has yet to install a working sawmill, has no adjacent farmland for raising grain, and has only a few steam engines and tractors. Perhaps someone can come up with a novel name which can be used in the future?
What was found this past June was pleasing to the crowd. The show featured some interesting exhibits on permanent display by Senator 'Debbs' Potts, who accumulated the many old time buildings like the church-schoolhouse, laundry, blacksmith shop, hotel and store, in addition to the huge metal building built a few years ago now referred to as the 'museum'. Right now a new two story 'barn' is being built and readied for the National EDGE&TA show to be held at Pottsville in June. The new barn will house the antique tractors, engines and cars.
Branch 9 members exhibited some rare engines like the R.M. Hvid diesel belonging to Bill Walner, old Otta was, Internationals, Temples, Jacobsons, Star Verticals and many, many more. Some were happy to just run by themselves, but others ground grain, pumped water, ran washing machines and sawed logs, which is always interesting to the public who have never seen them perform before. This last year's crowd doubled over the previous year and is expected to climb geometrically as the EDGE&TA National show will be hosted by Branch 9 on Father's Day Weekend, June 17 & 18, 1989.
At last December's annual banquet, these new officers were elected: president, John Haynie; vice president, Mel Graham; secretary/treasurer, Aileen Berg (again); newsletter editor, Nell Jane Tolen (her husband won last year's raffle engine); and membership chairman for another year, Rusty Brizendine.
While smaller one-lung engines have traditionally been the main attraction at many previous shows across the nation, it is hoped that this year will follow the overseas shows and we'll see more tractors, as 1989 is the centennial year of the internal combustion tractor, and perhaps more emphasis will be placed on these sturdy machines. Historically one may recall that in 1889 the Charter Engine Co. of Chicago, Illinois mounted a single gas engine on a Rumely steam engine chassis and wheels, tested it in South Dakota, and eventually turned out several more that year. Now that 1989 is here, you will be hearing more about the internal combustion tractors, of which there are many varieties and ages still out there to be found and restored.
This past year, during the third annual show at Pottsville, each noon parade found tractors on display and parading like the rare Swedish Munktels, A, B and GP John Deeres, a Fordson, 'baby' Cletrac, and even a homemade 'jitney' using a Model A Ford engine and frame.
But even then, the crowd saw a wide assortment of different engines and tractors this year provided not only by Branch 9 members, but by members of other branches from California and northern Oregon. One crowd-pleaser was the Fordson logging winch mounted on a huge trailer, pulled all the way down from Washington and hopefully planning a return trip on Father's Day this year. Speaking of Fordsons, the World Wide Fordson Tractor Club will have its display booth at Pottsville again this year.
If you are interested in attending and bringing some engines, tractors or other old iron, you might write or call for more information. National Show chairman is Dan Collins, 531 Crestview Loop, Grants Pass, OR 97527, phone (503) 476-6169 evenings or (503) 479-1339 during business hours. You may also contact the 1989 president, John Haynie, 516 Cheslock Rd., Grants Pass, OR 97527, phone(503) 862-2009.
Come to Pottsville, the 'Home of Oregon Memories'!