Memorial Weekend Antique Tractor Show
Editor's Note: Ms. Ladage is a co-author
of the popular children's book, Tucker's Surprise. Brightly illustrated, the tale
presents a timeless story of the love between granddad and grandson, set against the
backdrop of antique tractors. You can pick up a copy for your young one for $9.50 by
Roots & Wings
20014 IL RT. 16
Nokomis, IL 62705
This Memorial Day Weekend dawned cloudy and rainy. For central Illinois this was not
such a bad thing, as a dry winter and even drier spring cried out for any such relief.
Water restrictions had been placed on Springfield, Illinois and many farmers in the region
had been hauling water for months. The downpour was thus welcome by the people of the area.
And while it did slow down the usual crowd, the rain didn't keep away the die-hard tractor
buffs from the annual Strawberry Festival and antique tractor show.
The Anderson mansion is the home of the Macoupin County Historical Society, which held the annual Memorial Day Tractor Show
"Oliver" was this year's featured tractor, which was an Oliver 60 that will be raffled off
by the Macoupin County Historical Society at their other annual festival in the fall. The
Historical Society's spring and fall antique tractor show festivals bring together hundreds of visitors to see
and enjoy the tractors, toys, flea markets, crafts, and of course good, homemade food.
Every year, the visitors can expect the ever-popular Strawberry shortcake, and homemade
chicken and noodles. Even visitors without any interest in tractors whatsoever travel for miles
for these home cooked delights. Pork chop sandwiches and lemon shake-ups add to the feeling
that summer has finally arrived (except, of course, on Sunday when the mercury barely peaked
at 60 degrees!).
David Bradley tractor on the grounds
Russell Steam Engine owned by Randy Ramseier
A variety of tractors found their way to the show throughout the day on Saturday. One
family brought a truck full of David Bradley's. Randy Ramseier of Beneld, Illinois brought
back his 1904 18 HP Russell steam engine that weighs in at 24,000 lbs. The Russell was stoked
and running on steam, offering a view of how these massive machines moved and operated in the
early days of modern farming, when threshers went from field to field.
The behemoth Russell Steam Engine tractor makes the rounds at the antique tractor show
My husband Keith brought his 1940 John Deere B and was one of a few other green tractors
on display, among them Bob Huyear's John Deere G. Other tractor models at the show included
a 1950 IH M with a special kit and GM diesel engine. This tractor, owned by Merle Stone,
was only one of the many unique tractors to be seen at the show. Merle's brother Duane
had a 1947 Co-Op.
Ed Chandler's MM 445
Bob Imhoff's IH 460 and Ray Swanson's 30 Massey were among some of the beautiful
tractors that made it to the show this year. Ed Chandler had one of the only Minneapolis
Molines. His MM 445 with its distinctive Prairie Gold stood out in the sea of tractors.
But when looking for the unusual, Wayman Meredith wins the prize with his 1959 Fordson
Power Major, which had been made in England. Very few of these tractors ever found their
way over to America.
Wayman Meredith's 1959 British-built Fordson Power Major. While Ford started out producing their earliest
tractors under the Fordson brand name, after the 1920's Fordsons were built only in England. Tractors built
in America used the Ford brand name, and the two branches of the tractor division developed designs and marketed
their machines separately from each other
This Fordson had the Ford blue frame and orange wheels that was standard on the English
Fordson designs. Wayman said that the tractor has never been restored and is still in mint
condition. The paint on the machine is hardly faded and the engine ran like a top.
A Ford joins the red line
Toy makers were also on hand at the Strawberry Festival. Roy Lee Baker and his wife Audrey
brought along their miniature John Deere B that runs and will even pull a wagon. This toy
is made from scratch and sits on a two-foot frame. Roy Lee has been inducted into the Toy
Hall of Fame and always provides quality items that are hand-made and are sure to boggle
Along with the tractors, gas engines sputtered out their distinctive tune in another
corner of the grounds. Jim Langheim and Marjorie Bailey had a large display under a tent
to keep the engines dry. "We have all kinds, an English Bamford, a Petter, a John Deere,
two Fair Banks Morse, a Maytag, a Briggs & Stratton, plus a 1963 Wheel Horse," said
Besides the items on display, the Macoupin County Historical Society also offers several
items that are permanent fixtures on the ground to view also. The most spectacular display
is the restored Anderson mansion that is home to the Society and to the Macoupin Agricultural
Antique Association. The mansion is a stunning combination of Italiante, Queen Anne and Stick
stylings. Completed in 1892, tours of the mansion were available during the show and are
also offered throughout the year.
The grounds also include a school house, a church, and a black smith shop, as well as a
building that demonstrates what life was like in days gone by with antique machinery that
would be used by those living on the farm.
The Memorial Day Weekend antique tractor show ran on Saturday and Sunday. While Saturday
was cloudy and dry, storms rolled in that night which soaked the area. Sunday was clear and
very cool. I sat at my booth selling copies of the book I co-authored, Tucker's Surprise,
and tried to keep warm. Audrey Baker took pity on me and brought me a blanket as I shivered.
It is this kindness, this sharing that truly makes these events so great to attend. Talking
to people I have met through this great hobby was the highlight of the show. Keep
Carlinville, Illinois in mind for next fall if you missed the spring festival this year.
Even with a little wind and rain, it is worth the trip.