By Staff
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Gary Jondle's J.D. 'D' with Al Brodecky's Case separator, June 1982. Photo by George Reeves
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Greg Johnson's 40 HP Kline. Photo by George Reeves
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Tractor parade Bill Rohr at controls, with Charlie P founder. Photo by George Reeves

In 1969 the California Early Days Gas Engine & Tractor
Association was formed at Santee, California. At that time the
goals were to build a steam and gas engine museum on the West
coast, and to have a couple of threshing bees per year, as was
happening in the Northern and Mid-Western part of the United
States. The first thing was to incorporate under the above name and
find a piece of ground suitable for threshing bees and one that we
could call ours for a few years.

Since there were no rich uncles, it proved no easy task to
locate the ground. In 1976 we found 35 acres at Vista, California,
in a county park that we could lease for a very small amount.
Again, since we had no large amounts of money (only what the club
had earned working various fairs in California) it was not easy to
get electricity, water, restrooms and a permanent building. Now,
through a lot of blood, sweat and tears from many, many of the club
members, we have had a full year’s shows, have put up several
buildings, and are ready to show the nation how proud we are of our

We probably have one of the biggest collections of huge
stationary engines on the West coast. To name a few: 120 HP
Western, 80 HP Western, 35 HP Kline, 15 HP Reid, 12 HP Reid, 30 HP
Union Tool, 80 HP Clark and a Chicago Pneumatic.

We have a Holt Hillside Harvester in operation for the June show
each year. In addition we do gas and steam stationary threshing,
stationary bailing, country kitchen and parlor demonstrations,
blacksmithing, soap making, cider making, quilting, Clydesdale
draft horses working in the field or on a road grader, cutting and
binding wheat. We have hay wagon and fire engine rides for the

We are building a permanent kitchen and parlor, then a
blacksmith shop and a covered bridge within the next couple of

When you snow birds come South for the winter, we invite you to
come out if you want to get involved or just look, we’re happy
to have you. We are open as a free museum 7 days a week, except
Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. We do ask a donation at the
gate for our June and October shows.

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