Coolspring Power Museum: The Early Days

A look back at the beginnings of the Coolspring Power Museum as it approaches its 30th year.


| June/July 2015



Paul Harvey and John Wilcox

Paul Harvey (left) and John Wilcox getting ready to unload the 1902 Model 4 Klein in 1967. In many ways, the present-day museum starts here.

Photo courtesy Paul Harvey

This June marks the 30th anniversary of the formation of Coolspring Power Museum (CPM), and features our biggest show ever. During those 30 years, the museum has enjoyed steady growth; and its appearance has slowly changed.

Many engines, displays and buildings have been added; and new property has been acquired. CPM now proudly displays over 20 buildings containing about 250 engines, all spread across 40 acres in a quiet, rural valley. We will have a grand event this June!

While helping with the planning of our big event, my mind wandered back to the early days, to where it all began. It was so long ago, I had almost forgotten how it appeared then, so I searched in some old photo albums and will share what I found. That was a good time and life was easy, planning one or two structures for my personal collection. Little did I know what was going to happen!

I had been collecting small engines for about 10 years when I met John Wilcox, in the summer of 1967 at the Rough & Tumble show in Kinzers, Pennsylvania.

We became friends and I explained to him that my dad and I were planning to build a 12-foot by 20-foot engine house for some of my collection. He mentioned that he had an extra, small Model 4 Klein that would make a great addition. The deal was struck, and he volunteered to deliver it – all for $50. Dad and I already had the concrete floor poured, so the engine could be easily unloaded onto it. Wow!

Photo 1 shows John Wilcox and me standing on the bed of his faithful 1952 L140 International Harvester truck, shortly after he arrived. The Klein looked great and I was excited. It was soon unloaded, as seen in Photo 2, moved a bit, and is still there today.