R.R. #1, Box 69 Minonk, Illinois 61760.
We hope 1992 was a great year for steam and gas shows around the
country and for show enthusiasts alike. 1992 was a successful year
at Pontiac. We featured Oliver Hart-Parr machinery and equipment
and the debut of a commemorative 28-44 toy tractor.
We are looking forward to 1993 for our 45th anniversary
celebration and the J. I. Case International Heritage
Foundation’s Expo! The expo and our anniversary should prove to
be a winning combination for all who visit.
The Pontiac show includes a unique blacksmith shop operated by
the Illinois Valley Blacksmith’s Association. The men and women
at the blacksmith shop often work well into the night creating
metal works of art or repairing items for exhibitors on the spur of
the moment. The clang of the hammer and the shower of orange sparks
The Iron Pony Steam train owned by the Steve Fanner family will
again be making its whistle-stop at Pontiac. The train was built by
Augie Otto in the 1950s and, as we understand it, Augie’s train
pulled its first passengers in Pontiac in 1953, which marks a
40-year milestone in its history also.
The gas tractor display area is being relocated this year to
accommodate the ever-growing number of exhibits, and the gas engine
area will also have room to expand.
For the shopping enthusiasts in the crowd, the flea market and
arts and crafts areas provide shopping opportunities for even the
most avid collector. One of the recent additions is a quilt show,
which offers an opportunity to view some family heirlooms and
artistry in cloth.
The list of exhibitors and displays could continue on and on,
but one featured attraction has continued to draw much interest at
the Pontiac show. At the center of the park is a 40 HP Fairbanks
Morse diesel engine that was originally used at the LeRoy,
Illinois, waterworks. Keith Mathews, who serves on the Thresher
board and is himself a LeRoy resident, can usually be seen
operating this huge engine. The distinctive sound of the engine can
be heard all through the park!
This one-cylinder diesel engine was installed at the LeRoy
waterworks in March, 1931, and was linked to a generator that
powered pumps pushing water into the city’s reservoir and from
the reservoir back into water mains. The engine cost $3,800, but
reduced the city’s cost from $400 to $100 a month at that time,
replacing a tractor engine and electric motor. Keith Mathews says
that many small towns used similar types of engines to power
generators for water and electric service.
The engine is eight feet tall. It is started with compressed air
in an engine which has a 12 inch vertical piston and has automatic
oiling and cooling systems. It was used in LeRoy until the 1960s,
and was later sold to Reed Rush of Sharpsville, Indiana. When Mr.
Rush began to sell his collection, he generously agreed to donate
the Fairbanks engine to our show. It also powers our recently
restored veneer mill.
The newest addition to the reunion this year will be a family
entertainment tent, featuring top quality music both day and night
on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. One of the featured groups will be
the Whites, of Nashville and Grand Old Opry fame.
We have the privilege of hosting the J. I. Case Expo in 1993,
and will feature Case exhibits of a wide variety and rarity. Among
the oldest pieces of Case equipment at the show will be an 1893
center-crank Case steam engine which features some very colorful
and unusual iron grillwork. We also will exhibit and operate an
1890s Case agitator which is the forerunner of the threshing
machines that later dominated farming.
We’ll have square dancing, an antique tractor pull
sanctioned by the Illinois Tractor Pull Association, a horse pull
and a horse show, quilt show, kiddie tractor pull, threshing,
baling, saw-milling and daily power measurement by prony brake and
dynamometer. There is a shingle mill, veneer mill and grist mill as
well as an oat huller. It’s an action-packed show you won’t
want to miss!
We are looking forward to welcoming visitors and exhibitors
alike! Help us celebrate our agricultural heritage, Pontiac’s
45th anniversary and the 7th annual J. I. Case Expo! Mark your
calendars to join the Central States Threshermen in Pontiac,
Illinois September 2-6, 1993! We’ll look forward to seeing