Ode to An Artillery Tractor

Artillery tractor

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P.O. Box 870646, Wasilla, Alaska 99687

Elaine Base wrote this poem about the above tractor, which is now in the permanent collection of the Museum of Alaska Transportation & Industry in Wasilla. This model was licensed by the Holt Tractor Co. and built by Reo. It was brought to Alaska in the 1920s where it was used to construct roads by the Bureau of Public Roads. In 1935 it was sold to a homesteader for $50.00.

A tired old war horse sits on Row J. Who knows maybe she'll run again some day. It was about 1917 she was cast. Back in those days they were built to last.

Once strong and clean she hauled each shell That shattered the earth and blew man to hell. Our cause was just; God was on our side; She seemed to know it and performed with pride.

An Alaskan homesteader tested his luck When at the auction she was sold for 50 bucks. Beyond rivers of ice and those that flow, She pulled the plow, row after row.

The glaciers still grow, the rivers still run, But the homesteader's farming is ours and done. For over 50 years she moldered away till an antique buff spied her. What a joyous day!

A weapon of war, a mean machine. She toiled in the fields whose crops were green A soldier who kills, a farmer's quiet guest Who saves us better? Which life is blest?.