Power from the past on display in New Haven

A running Chews stationary steam engine from the handle factory in Hicksville, Ohio, will be at work at the steam engine and tractor show this weekend east of New Haven. (Contributed)


An estimated 4,000 tractor fanciers will gather at a New Haven park this weekend to see century-old engines strut their vintage might.

The Maumee Valley Antique Steam & Gas Association’s 42nd Steam Engine and Tractor Show will be Aug. 15-18 at Jefferson Township Park.

Admission is $7 through Saturday, just a donation on Sunday. Children 12 and younger are admitted free. Jefferson Township Park is at 1720 Webster Road, east of New Haven and between U.S. 24 and U.S. 30.

As a bonus, paying guests can catch a free ride on a horse-drawn wagon to the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society open house just one field away. There, visitors will see the restored Nickel Plate Road Engine 765.

The wagon ride is just part of the entertainment, said Rose Nahrwold, the secretary-treasurer of the Maumee Valley Antique Steam & Gas Association.

Nahrwold, of rural New Haven, said the organization’s approximately 200 members are from Ohio, Decatur, Bluffton, Ossion, Fort Wayne, Woodburn and towns in between. 

Nahrwold and her husband, Ron, will exhibit one of their 30 antique tractors. “We’re collectors of everything farm-related so basically this steam show is just part of our life,” she said.

They will exhibit a 1937 John Deere A on tip-toe steel wheels.

Steamed sweet corn dripping with butter will be sold while it lasts at the steam engine and tractor show. (Contributed)

Ron is an honorary member of the board of directors. “I’ve been there since the show started in 1978,” he said. Has been collecting since the ’60s.

Roger and Brenda Schuller of Woodburn also have been part of every show in the society’s 42-year history. Brenda is helping to coordinate the quilt show once again. Roger will exhibit his 1913 Case tractor, which he recovered after decades in storage. “It’s just unique,” he said. “They were used mostly out West for plowing the prairies. They had a belt pulley for running sawmills and threshers, too.”

“Mine came from Defiance, Ohio, 30 miles from the house. He was using it to move buildings from one location to another because it had power.”

Brenda Schuller said 40 or 50 quilts are entered in the quilt show each year.

“Every year we invite ladies to display quilts. We ask that they have not been displayed (here) before,” Brenda said. “We are always very fortunate in getting different quilts from area ladies. Some are new, others are antique quilts. They can be hand-quilted or machine quilted. They might be heirlooms or other things they have made or inherited or purchased. We just display them in the office. It’s an air-conditioned building and the quilts are protected.”

Anyone who wants to learn how to quilt will get an assist from a “cheater quilt,” which bypasses the cutting and sewing of small pieces of fabric and instead sews around a design. “There are no seams involved. If you have seams it’s more difficult to quilt, but this is just like printed fabric,” she said. In this case, the design is a blue dahlia.

There is no additional charge to visit the quilt show.

Brenda said the quilts speak of the ’20s or the ’30s, the same era that is represented by the tractors. “At this period of time a lot of the ladies quilted. You know this is just a craft that was used in about the same time period as some of the steam engines and the older tractors,” she said. “A lot of the ladies made their own quilts and comforters. At that time they were utilitarian. You would use worn out fabrics that had a good piece of material and you would sew that into bed covers. And now I’d call it an art form. Some of them are absolutely amazing.”

The Indiana Chapter of the Maumee Valley Blacksmiths will present demonstrations daily during the Steam and Gas Show, Aug. 15-18 at Jefferson Township Park east of New Haven. (Contributed)

Also during the show, there will be daily demonstrations by The Indiana Chapter of the Maumee Valley Blacksmiths. A flea market will be open for shopping. Children can ride the Barrel Train and play in the sand box or take a tractor driving lesson. On Saturday, a clown will entertain children, a kiddie tractor pull will be at 2 p.m. and there will be an exotic animal show at 3 p.m. Parades will be at 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Free hay rides and demonstrations with horses and mules will be on Friday and Saturday. Antique tractor pulls will begin at 5 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday.

A fish dinner will be available Friday and chicken and pork steak dinners will be offered Saturday in the pavilion. Steamed sweet corn will be served all weekend until sold out.

Admission includes live entertainment: Friday, The Jug Huffer Band, 5-7 p.m., and the American Legion Band playing songs of the ’60s, 7:30-9:30 p.m.; Saturday, Applejack Kloggers, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and Appalachian Mountain Music, 5-7 p.m., and the Scott Brothers Band playing bluegrass music from 7:30-9:30 p.m. There are steam engine fireworks (a “spark show”) Friday and Saturday after the entertainment. Sunday church service is at 9 a.m.

Visit maumeevalley.org for full details.