Phil Jordan, left, president of the Antique Engine & Tractor Association, and club farm manager Tom Hitzhusen are shown in front of the pole building that was constructed earlier this summer for this year's Working Farm Show, which will take place Sept. 13-15.

GENESEO — The Antique Engine & Tractor Association’s annual three-day Working Farm Show will showcase a new pole building this year.

The 2019 show will take place Sept. 13-15 at the AE&TA show grounds, north of Geneseo on Illinois 92, three miles east of Interstate 88 or one-half mile west of Illinois 82.

Pole-framing or post-frame construction is a simplified building technique adapted from the timber-framing technique. It uses large poles or posts buried in the ground or on a foundation to provide vertical structural support, along with girts to provide horizontal support.

Phil Jordan, president of the AE&TA, said construction of the 2,800-square-foot metal-clad pole building is just the first phase of future plans.

“This year, the building will be used as an area for the featured tractors,” Jordan said. In previous years, the featured equipment was kept in a large tent.

Jordan said when time and finances allow, plans are to connect the pole building to the timber-frame barn on the grounds by building a walkway between the two.

“The pole building will be painted red to match the other buildings on the show grounds,” he said. “Phase 1 is getting it built, and in the future, we plan to put meeting rooms and an office in a portion of the building, and use the remaining part for the featured equipment. We also plan to add handicap-accessible restrooms inside the building.”

The structure was designed with windows and large overhead doors on the east side, and double walk-in doors on both the north and south sides.

“Once we have our office space and meeting or conference rooms, we plan to build a loft area to be used for storage, but that is all a future phase,” Jordan said. “This year, we just want to get it built and have it ready for the show.”

Each year the Working Farm Show takes visitors back to what life on the farm was like in an earlier day.

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The show will feature demonstrations of harvesting corn and beans, using equipment from the mid-1900s. There also will be demonstrations of threshing oats or wheat, running a sawmill, plowing, baling, and using gas engines as they were used from the early to mid-1900s.

Jordan said the annual show gets bigger every year. This year there will be over 400 tractors, over 100 garden tractors and hundreds of gas engines, plus other agricultural memorabilia, on the grounds.

One of the most popular spots to visit is the sawmill, and people often wait in line for the demonstrations in the building, constructed about nine years ago by AE&TA volunteers.

Lowell Gramling, Colona, has been in charge of the sawing demonstrations at each year’s show.

Tom Hitzhusen, the AE&TA member who is manager of the farm acreage at the show grounds, said, “An updated auxiliary 103-horsepower engine been added to power the sawmill, which will enable us to demonstrate the sawmill even when a steam engine is not available. The new engine is capable of running the sawmill without the other sources of power and can easily be converted back and forth.”

Leon Rathjen assists Gramling in the sawmill demonstrations.

Another popular stop is the blacksmith shop, which each year features demonstrations by AE&TA member Lewis Bodamer, Princeton.

A special guest with Bodamer this year in the blacksmith shop will be Trenton Tye of Morgan, Ga., who is one of the hosts of the Discovery Channel’s “Master of Arm,” in which Tye does commentary and judging of contestant-made products. He also runs Purgatory Ironworks, a professional blacksmith shop, and creates films for his YouTube channel, Purgatory Ironworks.

The show is a family event with lots of activities for children.


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