Finally Open: Coolspring Power Museum Machine Works Exhibit

It took a while, but the Machine Works building at the Coolspring Power Museum is completed and open after construction started in 1974.

| April/May 2019

The “new” Machine Works building was first built in 1974, but wasn’t finished until 2018.

Yes, the Machine Works building is finally open to visitors! It made its grand debut at our Fall Exposition & Swap Meet, and after waiting 44 years, I was exuberant! Chatting with visitors and running engines was delightful, and all went so well. Six engines in the Machine Works were operational at the fall show, and more will be running for the 2019 Exposition & Swap Meet, June 13-15, 2019. It was about time!

I started the building in 1974. As the collection expanded and John Wilcox and I began working together, it became the third building on the grounds. Preceding it was the Founder’s Building, then called the Engine House, and the Power Tech building, known as the Big Barn. From its inception, it was to be a machine shop, hence its name.

Paul Harvey stands in the footprint for the Machine Works building when the foundation was poured in 1974.

But progress was fraught with problems. We did get a few machine tools assembled inside, and one operational. However, during those early years the collection was rapidly growing. I was spending almost every weekend hauling another goodie home, some engines being quite large and requiring several trips. So it became easy to let the progress of the Machine Works lag – even to the point of using it for storage. And we all know how that goes; it was soon filled with “junk” beyond hope.

During the ensuing years, several attempts were made to resurrect it, but they all seemed to fail. A little progress would be made, then soon lost again. During those years, we continued with the hope of a machine shop. A turning point for the endeavor was discovering that my dad and I designed the trusses too light to support line shafts. So it was back to storage use again.

6/4/2019 6:38:03 PM

Paul Harvey is the most awesome and generous person to be so dedicated through the years to build such an amazing museum with his own money and shares his passion with visitors. He is usually seen at the entrance gate welcoming visitors on show days and even asked me when I was leaving if I enjoyed myself, to which I said "yes, very much and thank you Dr. Harvey". God bless you Paul Harvey.


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