Antiques In Alaska

| September/October 1991

1601 Nelchina, Apt. 308 Anchorage, Alaska 99501

I guess I can start out by saying that this is a search for someone, or a group of people, who have the same interest as I do. I am hoping that this will get out to the right people, and it will turn out to be something really big.

Let me start out by telling a little story. I grew up in a small farming community in southern Ohio. In this small town, every August, the Ohio Valley Antique Machinery Club, Inc., a club in which my parents and I are active members, holds an annual show, exhibiting farming implements from the early days. Over the years, my father and I have accumulated quite a collection of Case and International farm tractors, and various small one-cylinder gasoline engines. All while I was growing up, my interest in this hobby never diminished. When my father would bring home a 'new toy' to work on, I was always right there watching a pile of rust transform into a collector's item. I guess you can say that I'm a second generation collector, and hope that my children find the same interest that I do.

I am currently enlisted in the United States Air Force, and stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Anchorage, Alaska. It's a nice place to be, but I miss participating at the steam shows back home. My parents have been sending me videotapes of the show I normally attend, which helps a little bit, but it's just not the same as being there.

Every time I go somewhere, I'm always scanning the sides of the road, peering into barns, and looking for that little bit of a rear wheel, or a flywheel off of some marvel from the agricultural past. Alaska seems to be one of the most ideal places for such a search, since in the summer daylight lasts almost 24 hours, and the scenery you encounter during your journeys is absolutely breathtaking.

While attending the Alaska State Fair, walking down one of the midways, I happened to look over and saw a one-third scale 65 HP Case steam tractor. I thought I'd fall over when the guy who was operating it told me that there was a building around the corner full of gems similar to the one he was parading around the grounds. Needless to say, it didn't take me long to get there, and find the Paradise that awaited me. As soon as I walked through the door, I was stopped in my tracks by the enormous Holt Caterpillar tractor sitting in front of one of the doorways. Looking past that, I saw a haven of antique cars, one-cylinder engines, and other memorabilia. In the back of the building, by an open garage door, I saw a group of gentlemen gathered around a small Fairbanks-Morse engine, watching it run, and talking to its owner about what he had to go through to get it in the excellent condition it was in.


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