Old Iron Works At Hay Creek Valley

| August/September 2001

GEM Staffer

If there's one phrase that can be associated with the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association's annual Fall Festival, it's 'old iron works.' And if there's a second phrase that comes to mind, it's 'old iron works.' Why say it twice? Because in this case it's true twice.

Every September, on the weekend after Labor Day, you can come to the association's Fall Festival and see old iron working nearly 200 vintage engines, both gas and steam, not just sitting there, but actually doing the work they were made for. At every moment and every turn, there's something to watch, and something new to learn for those who aren't of an age to remember when, even though it looks like backbreaking work, this kind of power was the labor-saving way to get things done.

At last year's show, from the moment I arrived on the property I was watching technology at work. The first thing to catch my eye were the hydraulic rams pumping water up the hill. They're a fascinating piece of machinery, downright hypnotic, and it's such fun to watch them working. Then I turned around, and there was a 1927 Jaeger (isn't that the most beautiful blue?) with flywheel spinning, owned by Bill and Cindy Swisher of Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. They also exhibited a 1 HP Gray engine running a Letz mill.

Here's one I've never seen before: a Boy Scout engine, 1 HP, built in 1912, owned by Henry Moore of Souderton, Pennsylvania. Who knows anything about these? I couldn't find it in Wendel's big book, so now I'm intrigued.

Walt Lilley's 22 HP 1914 Witte provided throaty background music for viewing a lineup of New Holland engines owned by LeRoy Hoover (aka 'Farmer Brown') from Morgantown. In his third year of exhibiting at Hay Creek, Hoover had on hand a 1915 HP, a 1905 1 HP, a 1923 2 HP, a 1915 4 HP, and a 1916 5 HP.