On July 29, the Olmsted Historical Society hosted the LaGrange Engine Club for a third consecutive year at the Frostville Museum Antique Power Show. The event allowed antique engine collectors to feature their restored antique farm engines. Collectors made sure the engines were in working order, providing guests the opportunity to see the engines in action.
Approximately 40 collectors had their operating engines on display and were standing by to educate guests on the origin and history of each engine and how each engine functions. Three years ago, Barbara Baker and husband John of North Olmsted – secretary and chairman, respectively, of the LaGrange Engine Club – approached an Olmsted Historical Society member regarding hosting the free show at Frostville Museum.
“We really like people to see an active display, not a static display,” said Baker. “We show people how the engines work and we want to let people know the past is still alive.”
Throughout the day, guests were also able to tour the eight buildings maintained by Olmsted Historical Society volunteers as well as visit various booths that featured baked goods, and a blacksmith who was creating pieces or work at the event.
“It’s always a fun event, and it is one of my favorites,” said Paul Schumann of the Olmsted Historical Society. “We think the show is a natural fit.”
Don Wharton, of Grafton, restored a Marion gas engine that was once used in oil fields for pumping crude oil near the turn of the century. Wharton has restored more than 50 engines in the last 30 years, and he obtained this particular engine from a man in Virginia. The engine was made in Marion, Ind., and would have been set on the ground inside a small building when it was in use over 100 years ago.
“I spend the winter restoring engines, and in the summer I can enjoy the fruits of my labor,” said Wharton. “I love these shows.”
John Baker also shares a passion for antique farm engines and had his Fairbanks Morris pump up and running for guests at the show. The pump is a kerosene engine was manufactured in 1917 and was originally hooked up to a pump that would pump water to various areas on a farm. The intention of the engine was to make basic chores on the farm easier, such as giving cattle water on a daily basis.
“We have a good time at these shows and we have gotten to know some wonderful people who are in the farming community,” said Barbara Baker.
The Olmsted Historical Society hosts several events throughout the year in addition to the Frostville Antique Power Show. The family-friendly events range from battle re-enactments to the weekly farmers market held each Saturday morning, and the Olmsted Festival of the Arts that will be held on Monday will feature both crafts and musical performances.