Ode to An Artillery Tractor

By Staff
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P.O. Box 870646, Wasilla, Alaska 99687

Elaine Base wrote this poem about the above tractor, which is
now in the permanent collection of the Museum of Alaska
Transportation & Industry in Wasilla. This model was licensed
by the Holt Tractor Co. and built by Reo. It was brought to Alaska
in the 1920s where it was used to construct roads by the Bureau of
Public Roads. In 1935 it was sold to a homesteader for $50.00.

A tired old war horse sits on Row J. Who knows maybe she’ll
run again some day. It was about 1917 she was cast. Back in those
days they were built to last.

Once strong and clean she hauled each shell That shattered the
earth and blew man to hell. Our cause was just; God was on our
side; She seemed to know it and performed with pride.

An Alaskan homesteader tested his luck When at the auction she
was sold for 50 bucks. Beyond rivers of ice and those that flow,
She pulled the plow, row after row.

The glaciers still grow, the rivers still run, But the
homesteader’s farming is ours and done. For over 50 years she
moldered away till an antique buff spied her. What a joyous

A weapon of war, a mean machine. She toiled in the fields whose
crops were green A soldier who kills, a farmer’s quiet guest
Who saves us better? Which life is blest?.

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