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,
Come to Pottsville, the ‘Home of Oregon Memories’!