9374 Roosevelt St. Crown Point, Indiana 46307
The Northern Indiana Historical Power Association held their seventeenth annual 'Harvest Festival and Steam Show' September 17, 18, 19, 1993, at Sunset Hill Park. Exhibitors and visitors found a new entrance welcoming them into the showgrounds. While the new entrance is more visible when entering and exiting the grounds, it took with it a good share of what was the parking area for the weekend. With just a few days to the show the Porter County Park gave us use of what had become a field of overgrown grass, weeds, etc.
The weekend started off Friday morning with the official opening ceremony and flag raising, and with a welcoming burst of the whistles signaling the engineers had steam up and were ready to start off the weekend show. Over the afternoon, seven bus loads of delighted local school children were guests of NIHPA, as they toured the park to get a glimpse of old-time farm techniques and machinery.
The park creates a pleasant setting for the show, and through the cooperation of the local park board, we have been able to have use of a portion of the grounds for our annual show, for the past few years. If one were to position himself on a high point near the center of the show grounds, this would be near the present location of the S. & M. Corson Sawmill. Spending the major portion of my time during the show working at the sawmill, it is from this vantage point that I see most of the show a prime location for observing most of the weekend activities.
To the west, the mill overlooks the entertainment stage where a variety of relaxing musical entertainment took place over the weekend. Cloggers young and old, beginners and old hams, brought smiles to visitors and other onlookers. The stage itself is encompassed by the old tractor display. Tractors of all levels of restoration can be found on the grounds, from the unrestored to the over-restored; but all can show off their tractors with equal pride. A little farther west is where the equipment of the International Harvester Company, the featured company of the show, held its position, greeting visitors as they entered the showgrounds.
Not all of the tractors are left on display many are out providing the needed power to equipment throughout the showgrounds. Continuing west, just out of sight of the mill, is where the threshing and baling demonstrations were taking place. Power was provided by both steam engines and gas tractors. Some tractor owners took turns at providing a pull to the visitor wagons that were touring the grounds.
Throughout the showgrounds teams of horses can also be seen, pulling hay wagons with delighted visitors, young and old, aboard. While we were fortunate to have had three good days of weather for the show, the rains left the fields a bit too wet for plowing, though both horse owners and tractor owners made the best of efforts.
What has become a very popular attraction to the show in the last few years is a dynamometer provided on behalf of the South Lake County Agricultural Historical Society, of Crown Point. Gary Parks, Dave Fritz and workers always seem to be happiest when they are kept busy.
In the distance one can hear the swinging of the blacksmith's hammer as it makes contact with the hot iron slowly being formed into useful items by Ewell Lovell, our local blacksmith. Not far from here the smell of sweet sorghum is in the air. Ed Nicholson and family, along with Larry Beck and the cane gang, cut and press the sorghum cane over the course of the day. Once there was enough raw cane juice, the cooking began. Apple butter and apple cider were also among the tasty treats to be found. Not far from the cider mill one could listen to the rhythmic echoes of the hit and miss engines, as they provided needed power to milling machines, water pumps, etc.
Sunday services were conducted by Pastor Russell Ward, of Willet, New York, whose message to members, exhibitors and visitors was patience. This is the second year that Russell and his wife, Burneeda, have come to the farm.
To show that all, man or beast, had to do their share of the work on the farm, a sheep herding dog herded not only sheep, but ducks as well, around fences and some of the equipment on display, and finally into a makeshift pen, stopping all who were passing by in their tracks!
As the 'Noon Whistle' signaled dinner time, workers and exhibitors were able to take time out and sample the variety of food available at the show.
Engines that were at last year's show were: a 50 HP J.I.Case and a 23-90 A.D. Baker, both owned by Konny Kipper of Highland, Indiana; a 50 HP J.I. Case owned by the LaPorte County Historical Steam Society, Hesston; scale Avery, Arland Koopman from Flanagan, Illinois; and Ed Breasaker's scale Peerless.
The parade lineup is to the north of the mill and travels around the show grounds and among fields of crops, to the north and east, until it gets to the main parade route which lies to the south, and passes some of the buildings that are under restoration.
I prefer to see a variety of available engines on the sawmill, thresher, etc. and avoid continuously seeing the same engine providing power to the same equipment throughout the show, year after year. The sawmill was put back to work this year, on Sunday, after patiently making a small number of repairs, with the help of a full crew of friends, and the loan of a spare blade for the show. The mill, a Lyon Iron Works, built in Greene, New York, is owned and operated by my father, Jack Corson, and myself.
Each year, history comes alive when NIPHA is joined by the Winamac Old Auto Club, with a fine assortment of collectible cars and trucks. The crosscut saw contest and horse pitching are among the activities that visitors are invited to participate in over the weekend.
We wish to thank all the exhibitors and workers for their untiring help, both in preparation for this event and in keeping activities going. It takes a full year to prepare for a show and each participant adds experience and knowledge to the organization. We had a good variety of equipment of the International Harvester Company, our featured company, and equipment of other companies too. We wish to take this opportunity to express our sincerest appreciation to all the other local clubs, that had members present with their own equipment and equipment owned by their organizations.
Most of us do not take the time to count the number of engine shows that we attend each year. We go to these reunions, not to observe them repeating some of the same mistakes we make, nor to criticize them. The true value of show activity is not found among equipment that is brought in, nor in the amount of activities for exhibitors and visitors that come to the show. Creating a setting as it was in the days gone by, where friends can come, visit and share the good times, this is what it is all about.
This year's show is scheduled over the weekend of September 16, 17, & 18, 1994 and will be featuring tractors and equipment of the J. I. Case Company. Also underway are plans for featuring equipment of the Advance-Rumely line for our 19th 'Harvest Steam Show' in 1995.