This is the depot where we found the old Minnie. If buildings could talk, this one could probably tell a lot of stories- the days of steam trains, floods on the Illinois River, people leaving home and people returning to Naples.
I have been at this tractor collecting game thirty years or more now and I'm still amazed where one finds some of these 'collectibles.'
Received a letter this last summer from Mrs. Smith who lives in a small town on the Illinois River, Naples. Mrs. Smith indicated that she had an old Minneapolis tractor that her late husband had used on his farm and wanted to know if I would be interested in looking at it. Needless to say, I was interested and was in Naples the day after I received her letter. I stopped to meet Mrs. Smith, a very nice elderly lady, and she informed me that the tractor was out on the farm. As we drove the two miles out to the farm, she told me that the tractor was shedded in an old depot. Depot on the farm-miles from the nearest railroad? It turned out that her late husband had purchased the depot and moved it out to the farm. When we drove into the old farmyard, lo and behold- there was the Naples depot. Couldn't wait to see what old 'Minnie' was there.
It turned out that it was an old (1929) 17-28 Twin City. As I stood there looking at it, I suddenly realized that we weren't alone- mosquitoes by the thousands and big ones! It was also very evident that the old tractor wasn't alone either as the smell of skunk was very, very noticeable.
On the way back to Naples, Mrs. Smith told me that she had several other old tractors, steel wheels and old plows. When we arrived back at the house, she showed me two 'R' Minnies, a 'Z' Minnie, two 'U' Minnies and a junker John Deere 'A'. Also found under a very large old tree, three rope trip three-bottom M-M plows plus a little two-bottom with chain driven lift, make unknown.
I didn't get anything bought that day but several months later I was able to make a deal with Mrs. Smith-bought the 17-28, steel wheels and the plows.
The next day, a friend of mine, Charley Calvin and I, hooked my implement trailer to my pick-up and away we went to Naples. We had quite a time getting the 17-28 out of the old depot, but three trips later, we had everything hauled home.
The old Minnie seems to be in very good condition, but haven't had a chance to start it yet. We hope to have it running for the Franklin, Illinois Sesquicentennial that will be held on July 4, 1982. Incidentally, Franklin is known far and wide as the Burgoo Capital of the World due to the fact that annually we make 1200-1500 gallon of burgoo.