Sam Stuart and his fellow volunteers from Antique Powerland Museum are looking forward to some mighty interesting conversations during the 2017 edition of the Northwest Ag Show.
“The conversations that come up never cease to amaze me,” Stuart said. “People are genuinely curious about what the machinery is, how it operated and the history behind it.”
The reactions the display of antique ag equipment gets make the effort worthwhile, he said.
“I love to see the kids come through. They don’t see things like this too often and are just full of questions,” he said. “It’s also fun watching the older adults who grew up with it and hearing their stories.”
While the Northwest Ag Show is an opportunity for vendors to show the latest ag machinery and technology, Powerland looks to inform visitors about where it came from, its evolution the result of necessity and ingenuity.
“We are a country that produces things and up until the middle of the last century one of the biggest things we’ve produced is agricultural equipment,” Stuart said. “There were a lot of family farms throughout the United States. The machinery we’re showing was used by farmers from the mid-1800s all the way up to the present. It’s rewarding just passing on a little bit of American history.”
Over its 46 years Antique Powerland in Brooks, Ore., has become a community of 15 heritage museums on 62 acres.
The museums include blacksmithing, model railroading, antique cars, motorcycles, trucks and large steam engines, just to name a few. These are in full swing during Powerland’s Great Oregon Steam-Up the last weekend of July and first weekend of August. Activities throughout the day include a parade of antique tractors moving under their own power and an antique tractor pull with audience participation.
The Antique Powerland display is hard to miss at the Northwest Ag Show. It features 30-40 different models spanning about 100 years — John Deere, Caterpillar, steam traction engines, cars, motorcycles, stationary gas engines and possibly a tank from World War II that could be powered by a radial aviation engine or two Cadillac V-8s. The oldest tractor was lovingly restored by Stuart’s father over 10 years.
“It’s rare. International Harvester only had it in production for four years,” Stuart said. “It’s nearly 99 years old and still able to get up and move around under its own power.”