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Farm history takes center stage in Franklin Grove

Local historical group's annual show to feature antique tractors and farm equipment

Published: Thursday, July 31, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST
Caption
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Don Hopper (left) and Matt Shaw unload their tractors Wednesday morning at the Living History Antique Equipment Association's grounds near Franklin Grove. For the 34th time, the club will host a tractor and equipment show Saturday and Sunday at 1674 Whitney Road.
Caption
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
This steam-powered engine will be working this weekend, when it will be used to run a thresher at the 34th annual Living History Antique Equipment Association at 1674 Whitney Road in Franklin Grove.
Caption
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
There will be many old machines not only on display but working at the antique equipment show this weekend in Franklin Grove. Attendees can look forward to seeing a rock crusher, a sawmill, and a steam-powered engine running a thresher, just to name a few.
Caption
(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Don Hopper moves his old tractor into place Wednesday morning for the Living History Antique Equipment Show on Saturday and Sunday in Franklin Grove.
Caption
This 1919 Russell tractor, property of Steve Linker of Malden, will be featured in the 2015 John Harvey's Classic Farm Tractors calendar.

FRANKLIN GROVE – By Saturday morning, about 25 acres of land in Franklin Grove will be covered with nearly 400 antique tractors and pieces of farm equipment.

The Living History Antique Equipment Association will hold its 34th annual show this weekend, featuring working tractors dating back to the 1920s or earlier, like the ones that were being positioned Wednesday morning. Each of them had visibly earned the distinction of antique.

The group's president, Dave Shaw, said he's seen the show double in size in the 20 years he's been involved. The club isn't picky about what gets submitted. as long as it's old – like the 1950 Farmall Super A that was delivered Wednesday.

"[We] don't care if they're painted, as long as they work," Shaw said.

But some of the tractors, like a few of Steve Linker's making the 52-mile trip from Malden, are painted and shined.

Linker plans to have three tractors at the show: a 1928 Rumley Oil Pull, a 1935 Case and a 1919 Russell.

The Case was featured in the 2014 John Harvey's Classic Farm Tractors calendar, and the Russell is making the 2015 calendar.

When Linker got the Case, which has been in his family since it was new, it wasn't in good condition and probably should have have gone to the junkyard, he said, but it's been restored.

It's a lot of work to maintain and restore and clean the tractors, but it's worth it to Linker. Especially when his Case and the Russell are recognized and included in a calendar.

"They're in perfect condition," he said. "I've been told there aren't two finer looking tractors in the country."

The association is made up of about 150 farmers from the Sauk Valley and as far away as St. Louis, Davenport and Sandwich. The show started on a 7-acre patch of land not far from the current, and much larger, show grounds.

But as the number of members and tractors and pieces of equipment grew, the group was forced to move to its current parcel of land right next to Interstate 88, just south of town. And current the 25 acres, Shaw said, are starting to fill up more and more each year, as 2,500 people are expected this weekend.

This weekend's show will be more than just tractors. There will be a rock crusher, a saw mill, gas engines, corn shredders and potato digging.

The antique potato digger on display was made in Rock Falls and will be used in a demonstration.

The rock crusher was donated to the group 34 years ago. It's bigger than a pickup truck and will crush rocks the size of basketballs to pieces smaller than a baseball.

"Kids stand by and they can feel the ground shake," Shaw said.

About the show

The 34th annual Living History Antique Equipment Association show will be held Saturday and Sunday at 1674 Whitney Road in Franklin Grove.

Admission is free but donations to the association are accepted. Food and souvenirs will be sold at show grounds.

Daily activities include:

Saturday, Aug. 2

• 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Tractor and equipment displays

• 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Tractor and equipment demonstrations

• 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Petting zoo

• 10 a.m. – Potato digging

• 11 a.m. – Straw scrabble for visitors 12 and younger

• 1:30 p.m. – Parade at show grounds

• 2:30 p.m. – Potato digging

• 6:45 p.m. – Parade in downtown Franklin Grove

Sunday, Aug. 3

• 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Tractor and equipment displays

• 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Tractor and equipment demonstrations

• 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Petting zoo

• 10 a.m. – Potato digging

• 11 a.m. – Straw scrabble for visitors 12 and younger

• 1:30 p.m. – Parade at show grounds, followed by a raffle

• 2:30 p.m. – Potato digging

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