Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum

By Staff
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1917 Holt Hillside Grain Harvester being pulled by Don Hunter's Holt 75 Crawler (1917?) tractor. Crew members Virgil White, Bill Rohr, Charlie Pfrunder, and Rocky Rochholz.
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Dave and Karen Olfson on a Samson Sieve-Grip in the museum parade.
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9152 Hector St., San Diego, CA 92123

We’re nearing the end of another successful year in Vista,
California, where the California Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor
Association, Inc. is building a museum.

The California Early Day Association puts on 4 weekends of
threshing bee and engine show each year to raise money to build the
museum. The shows are always the 3rd and 4th weekends in June and
the 3rd and 4th weekends in October. The Club is building the
museum in south Guajome Park, Vista, California. The Gaujome Park
is a 566 acre Regional Park and the Club has a 20 year lease on 40
acres in the park. We raise wheat, oats, and barley for our
threshing bee. We stack the grain we do not use in June and hold it
for the October threshing. Our attendance this year was well over
40,000 which certainly helps the Club’s goal to get the museum
built.

Several new things have happened in the last year so we will
give you a little idea of what happened in the next few
paragraphs.

Gas engine row completely went through from base up to restore
the 3 cylinder Fairbanks-Morse ‘Y’ engine and for the first
time in 50 years it was running at the October show. It is a real
attraction for the public to see the fellows start this monster.
After heating all three heads and then giving the engine a shot of
fuel and air, it is a thrill to see the black smoke belching from
the thirty foot high smoke stack. Many thanks go to Walt Erickson,
Don Alden, Elmer Mueller and friends for their many hours of work
this year.

This year we got the sawmill in full operation. Bert Nintemann
has some new young help who he is helping educate on sawmill
operations. When we see youngsters like Ron &. Junior Evans,
Bryan Klinck, and people like Bert Ninteman and Dale Boss playing
together to learn sawmilling, we know that our hobby will continue
long after we’re gone.

Ace Wischstadt has been putting the 60 HP Case on the sawmill
and training his two boys how to operate the Case. We had some
walnut logs donated to put through the mill and that Case sounded
nice.

The Country Kitchen and Parlor were very interesting to all of
the ladies in attendance. We saw Helen Tietsort, Beverly Krueger
and of course my wife, Betty May, making corn bread, cooking beans,
churning butter and I think I saw cookies too. The Country Kitchen
had a special visitor in the person of Teddy Bear from Roanoke,
Illinois. Teddy traveled with the Marlborough Chuck Wagon for many
years and has been a club member for over 10 years. Look for him to
be back in Vista for 1986 shows.

Shirley Boss was very busy in the Parlor making quilt squares.
Frances Freiling did her share of quilt squares also. I saw other
ladies in the Parlor, tying quilts and making the squares, who I
did not recognize. The gals who have been a very big part of our
organization will be back in 1986.

One of the most important reasons for the museum is the
educational aspect for the younger generation. Our Administrative
Assistant, Heather Johnson, is responsible for putting that part in
operation. We have school days 2 times a year once in May and then
again in October. Many volunteers from the Club put on a mini-show
just for school kids. We had over 20 different schools represented
and 1500 children on field trips. The volunteers demonstrate the
Country Kitchen and Parlor, the steam and gas engines, the sawmill
in operation. Where else can the kids see steam power, gas power,
wind power, horse power and man power all in one spot? The field
trips by the school kids have been so well received that the museum
has had to go to the 2nd day with the mini-show. We would encourage
the other Clubs to consider doing more of this for the kids.

The fellows on steam engine row under the guidance of Wes
Hamilton, Dave Denny and friends kept the boiler fired all day so
that there was plenty of steam to run the 200 HP
Allis-Chalmers-built Corliss and the other dozen or so smaller
steam engines. One of the steam engines was belted to a stone burr
mill where Helen Hutchings and Jane Wisch-stadt were kept busy
grinding corn meal and wheat for the customers.

Also there were many models set up in the Ashbeck building that
drew extensive interest. I saw model steam and gas engines both
being operated by Cecil Heyn, Ernie Goddard, and their friends. So
many other attractions with their draft horses, the Mike Ames
musical Belgian-Dance-Band, Razzle-Dazzle musical group doing tunes
from the 40’s, square dancing, doggers and Blue-grass music
provided almost continuous entertainment in front of the grand
stand.

Our biggest encouragement last year was to get the grant to
build our blacksmith shop and have the shell completed in 1985. At
the June show, Don Finney, Richard Shrader, Joe Nielsen and fellow
blacksmiths shod horses, made horse shoes, rings, and all kind of
trinkets that kept the customers entertained. We had an open house
in May with mayors, senators, and county supervisors and many
dignitaries in attendance.

The Farm Committee put on a good show this year. We saw Kenny
Dutenhoffer with his John Deere ‘A’ (with fenders) working
the ground and planting oats and barley last spring. The Jondle
boys with their 8N Ford, Ernie Walker on the Cletrac, disking with
Lee Stephens and Al Luedtke trying to keep everything in working
order. In June we saw Virgil White with John Deere ‘A’
tractor and binder, Charlie Pfrunder with his newly restored
McCormick-Deering binder cutting and binding oats and barley. I saw
Bill Rohr riding one of the binders, then Bill Rohr and Ken Morgan
out shocking the oats. Late December saw the boys getting ready for
the 1986 crops under the guidance of Virgil White and Charlie
Pfrunder. Thanks to all the farmers who helped us in 1985.

A special thanks to the many fine Club families who help us put
on our two shows each year. Without the many volunteer hours the
museum could not have been built.

The Antique Gas and Steam Engineers had a super year in 1985 and
appreciate the support of the many visitors. If any one wants more
information, please contact our Administrative Assistant, Heather
Johnson, at 2040 N. Santa Fe, Vista, CA 92083.

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