NEW RICHLAND-HARTLAND-ELLENDALE-GENEVA AREA

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Farmer or not, I hope you had an opportunity to view the Big Four Gas Traction Company tractor, with the 96-inch diameter wheels, in Owatonna on Saturday, July 22. The tractor was on display at the Gus' Station Car Show and Breakfast fundraiser at the Steele County History Center.

“About as big as you can get, the big tractor boosts power equivalent to 30 work horses," said Countryside Machining owner Allan Severson, of Bixby. Severson, and his wife, Harriet, have spent over seven years restoring this special tractor. A showpiece, it is now fully functional and it has an interesting history. Originally built in Minneapolis in 1911, it worked the fields of Alberta, Canada until 1940 when the motor and transmission were donated to the war effort.

Then in the 1950's it was moved to a museum in Canada where it remained until the 1980's when it was sold by the museum in an effort to raise funds.

Following the 2010 passing of Morris Blomgren, the antique machinery collector who owned the tractor, Allen Severson was able to get the tractor. There were some special conditions that accompanied the tractor, which were that he would need to restore the tractor and make it operational again and keep it here in our area.

Severson, among other things, had to completely build a new engine and install a transmission, which was a bit difficult, but he was finally able to do it after working on it on and off over the past several years. After he had the tractor back in working order again it also needed to be painted, which Allen did by hand. Now that that has been completed, Severson has taken it to many events in our area, including the 4th of July parade in Blooming Prairie. Following its first appearance at the parade, Allen felt there was still one more thing he wanted to do, and that was to add a canopy. Allen got busy working on that project and was able to get one added before he took it to the Gus' Station event.

Was this entire tractor project worth it? Yes, Allen said it was. In fact to him it is priceless. In 1913 this special tractor could have brought $2,800 cash on the market. Now it is hard to estimate its worth. Severson said it is thought that it could bring $500,000 now on auction, but he quickly says it is NOT FOR SALE. However, Allen has taken on the job of restoring another Big Four tractor, which he plans to make available for purchase once he finishes it.

The Big Four Gas Traction Company tractor, which was created in Minneapolis, MN was quite an attraction for the already outstanding display of "good old stuff" on display at the Steele County Fairgrounds during the Gus' Station breakfast and car show that included about 100 great vehicles.

If you missed it, I am guessing that Allen will have it on display at many upcoming county fairs this month in our area.

I guess it goes to show that great things can be accomplished if someone wants something bad enough and works hard to accomplish it.

Please see the related story about the 3rd Annual Gus’ Station Breakfast and Car Show in this week’s issue of the Star Eagle. 

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Some of our Star Eagle readers have commented that they like to read about events such as family and school reunions, birthdays and anniversaries, as well as birth and wedding announcements.  In order to read about those important things we need our faithful readers to pass along the information to us.

Also, if you have an idea for a story that you think would be of interest to our readers, please contact me.

If you have birthdays and anniversaries you would like to include, or news to share, please contact me via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., by postal mail, P.O. Box 192, Geneva, MN 56035, or telephone, 507-256-4405.

Birthdays and anniversaries:

• Thursday, August 3rd: Arianna Elizabeth Pence/Ortiz, Jo Lerberg, Kristine Dummer, Cynthia Nelson, Kent Swearingen, Jean Molenaar, Matthew Wayne, Nicholas Wayne, Gerald Flugum    

• Friday, August 4th: Madysen Grace Waage, Karen Edwardson Loge, Harold Jensen, Bryce Ingvaldson, Terry Vaith, Ryan Wangsness, Michael Hanson, Tom Lang, Bethany Cooper, Rachel Reichl, Gary & Kathy Reichl, Angie & Mark Hinzmann

• Saturday, August 5th: Wayne Schimek, Corey Wangsness, Gabriella Lynn Olson, Gladys Johnson, John Ramlo, Annette Thostenson, Jennifer Broskoff Dutton, Andrea & Kane Malo, Christopher & Kristen Hanson, Tom & Kari Wayne, Jay Wangsness & Sherry (Enfield), Annette & Wayne Thostenson

• Sunday, August 6th: Lynn Nechanicky, Rick Cook, Matthew Miller, Wendell & Connie Kuehni

• Monday, August 7th: Dakota Wayne Heideman, Cheyenne Bergerson, Shelly Mangskau, Zachery Vangen, Lori Titus, Dylan Waltz, Jack Jensen, Kaityn Quimby, David Arbogast, Darren Casper, Allen Wacek, Marilyn Vietor, Tom & Katie Marlin

• Tuesday, August 8th: Ian Matthew Wayne, Luke Wangsness, John VanderStoep, Jamie Walworth, Kathy Born, Scott Crabtree, Jessica Marcus, Sharon Miller Jensen, Barb O'Conner, Gary Peterson, Emily Jensen, Marc Collins, Matthew Swift, Don Gould, Mya Glienke

• Wednesday, August 9th: Andy & Mary Lerberg. Aaron & Mickki Heimer, Linda Wayne, Steven LeRoy Christensen (1952), Cherie Halla, Karen Holmes, Amber Nordland, Angie Reichl, Dustin Jepson, Sierra Ellen Misgen, Josiah Jeffrey Schei, Christopher Quentin Haberman

• Thursday, August 10th: Jovey Kathleen Knudson, Lynn Arends, Linda Weckwerth, Teresa Wright, Jeff Olson, Vernon Cornelius, Michelle Brandt, Richelle Butler Chapman, Melisssa Cornelius Large, Dustin Dobberstein, Thayne Nordland, Ross & Kathie Lein, Steve & Kathy Nelson, Darrin & Linda Stadheim

• Friday, August 11th: Nicole & Daniel Burns, 2012; Nicole & Dallas Loken, Brian Broulik, Vicki Humburg, Jeremy Kaiser, Mike Plunkett, Kris Simon Freitas, Sharon Sorenson, Kim Anderson Schneider, Brian Thostenson, Irvin Jensen Jr., Kevin Avery, Luke Clark Wangsness, Paige Sophia Kromminga

• Saturday, August 12th: Linda & LaVerne Stieglbauer, Shawna Robertson, Tessa Christensen, Kristine Schroeder, Cindy Oswald, Cindy Nelson, Cynthia Crabtree, Thomas Smith, Ross Swearingen, Genie Hanson, Amy Tasker

• Sunday, August 13th: Dennis Deml, Tim Enzenauer, David Haddy, Bob Brandt, Lisa Dummer, Megan Dummer, Janet Hope, Kellie Petranek, Sylvia Jepson, Saxton Chad Ritz

Hope you have a day filled with things that make you smile!

There are times I make mistakes regarding birthdays and anniversaries because of information I may not know or remember.  Please look at this as a reminder that though they may no longer be with us it is nice to remember they once were and celebrate their birthdays and anniversaries.

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