THE ONE THAT DIDN'T GET AWAY


| March/April 1987



Richard

RR 1, Box 92 Kimball, Nebraska 69145

I think collecting old iron is a lot like fishing-it seems the best usually get away. A couple of good examples are the Waterloo Boy tractor that sold on a farm sale a few years ago for $150. It wasn't advertised and nobody went out behind the barn to a weed patch to see an old junk tractor sell. Just last winter a pair of JD 'B' front steel wheels sold on a local farm sale for $6. I wasn't there. We all hope to catch a big one someday.

The town of Dix, Nebraska had two old wood elevators built between 1910 and 1920. In the early '40s, when I went with my dad to haul wheat, we hauled to both. One was the co-op, and the other privately owned. In the early '50s the co-op bought the private owned one and in the early '60s, the co-op built a new concrete silo type elevator. The two old elevators were used mostly for storage from that time on.

The manager of the co-op in the mid '70s was telling me about an old steam engine under the floor in one of the old elevators. He wouldn't tell me which elevator it was in, and said the hole you could see through was too small to tell anything about it. I doubted it was steam, but never could get any more information. I mentioned the engine to the two managers between 1979 and 1986 and both said no engine existed in either elevator.

By the spring of 1986 both elevators were emptied and supposed to be torn down. As soon as I found out who was to tear them down, I went to see him. He told me he had poked in every nook and cranny and there definitely was no such engine in either elevator. I told him when he found it to let me know, as I might want to buy it.

On Thursday morning, June 13, 1986, we were pouring cement in a grain bin about a block from the old elevator. The man showed up and handed me the engine name tag. It was an 'Otto' engine, RPM 240, serial #13425, HP 21. I couldn't believe he would chisel the tag off, but when we went to look he had taken the screws out.