Home and Shop Companion 0135
Home and Shop Companion 0135

Rural Ramblings – Fall 1982
Ralph C. Miller

We do our share of traveling as our steady readers know; even when circumstances keep us anchored for a time, the general focus of this column allows us considerable latitude. As a matter of fact we did take another brief trip down in one of Oregon’s cheese valleys, but I’m going to hold that for a while. I want to do Oregon impressions in toto somewhere down the line. A couple of other ideas kicking around may take longer to develop than I have to spare; however: ‘Travel Historic Rural America’, subtitled: A guide to Agricultural Museums and Events in the US and Canada. (They could just as well have used our handle I think – A guide to Rural Rambling?)

This book is a publication of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers and was edited by Sam Rosenberg. I think they have done a creditable and commendable job. As they offer in introduction, the ASAE is a nonprofit engineering society which concentrates its efforts in service to agriculture; they are pleased to present this book for those interested in the preservation of our American heritage.

This is a guidebook, paperback, and at 110 pages is handy enough for purse or pocket. In this country, as in Canada, we have over 350 years of Agriculture behind us. With Science and technology shoving our frontiers into limitless space, many of us feel the need to hang onto something basic as a means to avoid what Toffler terms Future Shock: We do have a little more leisure in general, as well, and thus the time to indulge in such pursuits.

Just to get you started right, the book lists the major holidays in the US and Canada – that indicates opportunity; then they go on to cover the 48 contiguous states plus the District of Columbia and eight Canadian Provinces. There are 622 items listed in the US alone, by my count, from museums of every size and description, historical farms and ranches, local and state historical societies, a partial listing of annual events to a number of Historic Landmarks – Grist mills, restored villages and the like. All of these pertain in some way to historic agriculture, although some not exclusively so.

There are small exhibits (a single building small rural museum or such), there are large working villages complete with craft shops, rides and interest enough for the whole family to spend an entire day. There are maple sugar factories, homegrown and otherwise. Mills – from a horse treadle powered affair to a twelve story Dutch windmill – Log Cabins, old buildings, new buildings, new replicas of old buildings and among the shows they range from antique powerlands of steam and early gasoline, to horse and ox-drawn wagons and equipment. For no reason I have selected a few of them that caught my fancy.

Grandpa’s Farm. Branson, MO. Principally a children’s farm, museum maintains vintage farm machinery collection and sawmill.

Ontario Plowmen’s Association International Plowing Match and Farm Machinery Show. Crown Hill, Ontario. Simcoe County near Crown Hill, on Gordon Atkinson Farm, Toronto, ON.

As for Canada as featured in this last item I didn’t count them, but I believe there may well be 150 more there. Some of the book’s listings, as the first two above, are shown as free admission – most have charges, but I would expect they are well worth it.

I have been to a few of these places listed and hope to visit others. Anyone who travels and likes a fascinating glimpse into our rural past would soon find this guidebook paying for itself. It also features small state maps that locate the attractions for you. I recommend the book and believe that the ASAE deserves commendation and support for the work they are doing. Happy Rambling.

Old Engine Nursing Home. Cayuga, NY. A collection of 158 engines, 13 early farm tractors and related equipment.

Old Wye Mill. Wye Mill, MD. One of the oldest commercial enterprises in Maryland, the Old Wye Mill predates 1672, and has operated almost continuously since that time. The mill currently produces its own stone-ground flours and meals. It houses a variety of antique implements and machines.

Travel Historic Rural America
American Society of Agricultural Engineers (Publisher)
Sam Rosenberg – Editor
ISBN 0-916150-23-2

Editor’s Notes: This interesting book is very difficult to find on the internet; I could only find passing mention of it, no physical copies or photos revealed themselves to me. Do any of you happen to have one?

It is now the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any evidence that ‘Grandpa’s Farm’ in MO or the ‘Old Engine Nursing Home’ in NY are still around. Chime in if you know otherwise. Happily, the Ontario Plowmen’s Association and the Old Wye Mill are still going strong! – EG

Home and Shop Companion 0135

Home and Shop Companion 0135