'Slab Pile' John Deere D Tractor

| January/February 1985

  • old tractor

  • old tractor

6818 S. Elizabeth Street Littleton, Colorado. 80122

The story on this tractor begins a few years ago. I needed a particu-power tool and heard that a local company sometimes has slightly imperfect units for sale at attractive prices. I called to confirm this and in the process talked with and eventually met Mr. Bud Anderson. When I picked up the tool Bud and I learned we had attended the University of Missouri at the same time in the late 1950's. We had not met while college students.

One thing led to another in our conversation and sooner or later Bud learned of my tractor collecting hobby. He recalled seeing an old tractor deep in the mountains several years ago while deer hunting in the National Forest. He didn't know its make but it had obviously been abandoned many years ago in a sawmill site.

My curiosity about bested me at this bit of information, but it was not until the summer of 1982 when Bud and I found a Saturday free to do some reconnaissance. Bud mentally dusted off the route to the site since it had been 10 years or so since he hunted the area. With Bud's recollection, a USGS map and a jeep, we ventured out. I listened carefully to rancher's names and tried to make mental note of landmarks as we drove from easy going into increasingly difficult conditions. These mental notes would be useful should I later need to re-trace the route alone on a rescue mission for the as yet unknown tractor.

Bud related an intriguing tale, as we drove, of how the largest land owner in the area had purchased a ranch from Bud's rancher friend - the ranch Bud had hunted when he first saw the tractor. Bud spotted the relic as he swung off his friend's ranch onto forest land in pursuit of a particular trophy buck on one occasion. The new landowner had ramrodded an effort to close the public road through his and other rancher's property a few years back. The controversy even came to the brandishing of firearms before the matter was calmed somewhat in court! With this bit of exciting history in mind we progressed with a bit of trepidation across several ranches and associated property lines into the area along that road, opening and closing some eight cattle gates as we drove. The open alpine grassy meadows quickly gave way to rocky out-croppings and cedars, then the heavy forests of aspen and pine closed 'round us.

The road diminished to a trail, then an aged logging path, then nothing. Reconnaissance trip changed to hike the last couple of miles. Bud reacquainted himself easily with the surroundings once we struck out from the jeep and recalled we would have to walk around a finger of mountain meadow belonging to the road-closing rancher. Public land areas are commonly penetrated in somewhat random fashion by finger-like slivers of privately held land. We had driven some distance into public land forested with the pines and aspen, but we had no idea whether our progress was being watched. Our nervous imaginations were working on us a bit, so we thought it best not to cross the private land. We would be needing to scout a route around the fenced meadow anyway, should the tractor be a 'keeper'.


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