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Western Minnesota Steam Threshers 6/2/2017

by Chris Guenzler

Bill Compton and I left the Days Inn in Alexandria and after a breakfast at MacDonald's, we headed straight to Rollag and entered at the east gate which was open, where we found Bart and Sarah Jennings waiting for us.

Western Minnesota Steam Thresher's History

Every Labor Day weekend since 1954, generations of threshermen & women get together to relive the tradition of the good ol' days and bring the past to life for the enjoyment of young and old alike. Stop by Labor Day weekend and check out the show. We'll see you at the Hill, "Where the Sun Always Shines in Your Heart!"

It all started in 1940 with a little idea sparked from the soul of some local Threshermen over supper. The Nelson boys fired up the old Garr-Scott engine to thresh with steam again for old time sake with family and friends. The event continued once a year until 1954, when Western Minnesota Steam Thresher's Reunion met formally for the first time and invited the public. Today the show has grown to include hundreds of demonstrations and exhibits spread over 210 beautiful acres. The show attracts thousands of spectators and volunteers every Labor Day weekend.

Our Visit

While we waited for Tom Hall to arrive, I started my picture taking.

The Baker Great Northern station built in 1900.

Rollag scene with Sarah Jennings in this view. We drove in after Bart told us someone had already driven in. There we found Steve Mitchell of Yard Goat Video Production who would join us at the first two stops of the day this morning.

Buttzville Bathrooms. I found that name funny as we might be taking pictures later today in Buttzville, North Dakota.

Hickson Milwaukee Road station.

The water tower.

A beached Queen of the Lakes boat. Steven followed us back to where Bart and Sarah were and I told Bart about the Hickson Milwaukee Road station and he pointed me down to another station here. Bart and Sarah then went to get their pictures of the Hickson station and I went after the other one.

The Flying A service station.

The Northern Pacific Hitterdal station. Bart and Sarah had returned and then some construction workers arrived and they called Tom Hall for us and he arrived about fifteen minutes later. We all followed Tom to the roundhouse so we could see the steam engines they have here.

Dresser Trap Rock Co 0-4-0T 3 built by H.K. Porter in 1924, sold to Bonanzaville in 1982 and donated to the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers at a later date.

Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie Railroad 0-6-0 353 built by Alco Brooks in 1920. In 1955, it was sold to Koppers Company as their 353 then donated to the Minnesota Transportation Museum before being sold to the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers.

Soo Line wooden caboose 124 built by Terre Haute Car in 1886.

Switcher of unknown origin.

Another view of Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie Railroad 0-6-0 353. I then went into its cab.

Northern Pacific wooden caboose 1750 built by Pacific Car and Foundry in 1921.

Northern Pacific bay window caboose 1572 built by Northern Pacific.

Another view of Dresser Trap Rock Co 0-4-0T 3.

Rear end view of Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie Railroad 0-6-0 353.

The roundhouse here.

The Armstrong turntable.

The Armstrong turntable and roundhouse.

Large crane.

Soo Line outside braced box car 33340 built by American Car and Foundry in 1913.

The cars they use to haul passengers on this railroad.

SOO Line bunk car W-7xx.

A view of the property.

Pieces of Dresser Trap Rock Company 0-4-0T 5.

Section houses.

Western Minnesota Steam Threshers flat car 90.

Our group in the roundhouse. A special thank you to Tom Hall for letting us visit the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers this morning. We all left for our next stop at Dalton.