Getting ready for the 150th anniversary of the Lincoln funeral procession

The City of Springfield is truly the Land of Lincoln and they would be remiss without remembering their favorite son. The city will honor our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln with the accurate reenactment of the historic anniversary of his funeral procession. While several events that kick off in April are leading up to this somber occasion, it is May 1st and 2nd that the actual procession will take place.

The train will arrive at the Amtrak station. The train carrying the replicated coffin covered with an American flag that has been created by the original manufacturer of the flag that covered Lincoln’s body. The accurate to the time period train will arrive at the very same station that Lincoln’s body arrived 150 years ago. The coffin will be carried in a horse drawn specially built replica of the original Lincoln hearse following much of the historic route from the station to Washington and 6th Street where the opening ceremonies will commence. The coffin will be guarded over by Civil War re-enactor during a candle light vigil. On May 2nd the recreated Lincoln hearse will transport the coffin to Oak Ridge Cemetery our 16th President’s final resting place. The procession will go through the recently replicated First Street entrance and proceed to the old receiving vault.

The First Street entrance was just recently completed with the funeral procession a reason to make the $200,000 project a priority. On December 3rd Oak Ridge Cemetery held a dedication of the gate that is now an updated version of the one back in Lincoln’s time.

While the original gate was wooden, the brushed aluminum appears to be wooden. The dirt entrance is now a concrete walkway with a gate and bollards it can be opened and closed for foot traffic. There is an interpretive plaque (written by historian Ian Patrick Hunt) explaining the historical significance of the gate. “This presents the city with one more historical site,” Mike Lelys Executive Director said.

For more details about the event, log onto


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Prairie Gold Treasure, the unearthing of an MM mystery piece

This year at the National Farm Toy Show I had a chance to interview veteran Minneapolis Moline Collectors Jerry Erickson and Loren Book about a corn sheller the two located and bought that is a one of a kind. The two found the corn sheller at auction and this piece had once graced the cover of a January 1942 MM calendar with the Grussing children and a paid model. The children belonged to Bon Grussing Sr. the photographer that took the photographs for the calendar. Jerry identified Grussing Sr. as responsible for many of the advertising successes Minneapolis Moline accomplished.

Long story short, they bought the model which was one of 11 toys that was on the calendar at an auction and the two have been sharing the model and displaying it at their respective tractor museums. The model and what happened to the other toys is quite a mystery. The last they were known to be seen was back at an MM branch house in Twin Cities. Where they are now and where they were before the toy showed up on the auction website remains a mystery. Jerry said the only thing the auctioneer would tell him was that a guy got it from his neighbor and that it had sat on his shelf since the 1970’s.

Loren brought the beautiful model to the National Farm Toy Show where Jerry was set up as a vendor. They displayed it under one of Jerry’s original 1942 calendar so that collectors could view the toy and the calendar at the same time. The cool part comes next, the two loaned the corn sheller to the National Farm Toy Museum for a year so collectors can visit the museum and see this iconic piece of MM history on display.

More details about this story will appear in an upcoming issue of Toy Farmer and in the MM Collector Magazine PGR, but it is an amazing story that came about through my travels. It is wonderful to talk to people about the history of companies and artifacts that have changed America over the years. This corn sheller is a miniature of the B-2 corn sheller built by a company that over the years merged and AGCO of today has roots in MM’s past.

The MM history site, website supplies a bit of the history of how MM became part of AGCO. “Minneapolis Moline Power Implement Company was formed in 1929 by the merger of Moline Implement Company, Minneapolis Threshing Machine Company, and Minneapolis Steel & Machinery Company. White Motor Company purchased Minneapolis Moline in 1963. AGCO purchased White Tractors in 1991.”

Take the time to learn more about your agricultural history when heading out, you never know what mystery you may uncover!


For those that want to see this iconic piece of advertising history can visit National Farm Toy Museum. For details about the museum, log onto the National Toy Museum website at If you would like to make an appointment to visit Jerry’s museum, call 641-390-1045. To schedule a visit to Loren’s museum, call 515-231-6334.

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Auto Thrill Museum/Antique Shop



It is always fun when you walk into a store without knowing just what you will find. That was the case when in the town of La Porte City, Iowa and stopped by The Real Deal where Chad Van Dyke auctioneer, motor cycle rider, antiquer and funny car enthusiast has his shop. Inside the shop Chad has opened the Auto Thrill Show Museum which profiles years of collecting.

In his biography Chad said as a youngster he spent weekends with his grandfather traveling Iowa to attend horse races and fairs during the late 50’s and into the 60’s. “One might think I would fall for the four-legged beast, instead, I was drawn to the added attractions at these great events which drew hundreds and even thousands from all around,” he sadi.

Some of the entertainment that drew Van Dyke were the Auto Daredevils. At 14 he bought a bike and that is a love affair he is still having today. He admitted that when deciding whether to open the shop or not is dependent on the weather. If it is a good bike riding day well….

Over the year’s Cad Van Dyke has raced cars been an announcer and today visitors can enjoy the years he has collected this unique memorabilia in his shop and museum.

Retired from John Deere, Van Dyke worked as a special investigator in Quality Assurance at the Waterloo plant for 30 years. He has lots of tales to share so take a minute and stop by and see “The history of Thrills, chills & Spills!

Located at 301 Commercial Avenue, call 319-342-3300 if you have questions or log onto

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Festhalle barn in Amana, trees, beautiful trees

Most year’s we head to the Amana Colonies for Prelude to Christmas a chance to recuperate from the stress of field work and a kick off to the Christmas season. One of my favorite stops is the Festhalle barn that was once a dairy barn located in Amana. Amana is the largest of the seven villages that make up the colony. The barn is the place where the local vendors and organizations decorate their trees and bring Christmas alive with a huge pyramid that this year featured Santa’s workshop.

The century old barn is a fitting place with the soaring ceilings and surrounding Amana countryside for a festival of trees and of course a place where woodworking is supreme and just right for Santa’s workshop.

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Festival of Trees

train at festival of trees

This event was held in Springfield Illinois and I thought this picture depicted the magic of the event!

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The Abraham Lincoln Museum opens a new exhibit “Undying Words”

Before the exhibit was open journalists had the chance to come and preview the exhibit “Undying Words 1858-1865 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library (APLM). I took the opportunity to check it out and had the wonderful opportunity to interview James Cornelius, curator of the presidential library collection and Olivia Mahoney, senior curator at the Chicago History Museum for a story in the upcoming issue of Senior News & Times that will be out this February.

This exhibit focuses on five of Lincoln’s speeches the first beginning in 1858 and the last Lincoln’s final speech on Reconstruction that was given just three days before his assassination. The exhibit is on display until February 28, 2016 and is a partnership between the APLM and the Chicago History Museum with assistance from Archer Daniels Midland. I learned so many things at this exhibit that shows how Lincoln changed his feelings about slavery over time.

Our 16th President began as a political moderate with every intention of leaving the South alone and only objecting to slavery in expansion of the Western States. As the war drug on though and took its toll plus his own horrific loss of his son Willy, Lincoln’s message changed. In his inaugural speech he stated “Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration, their property (slaves) and their peace, and personal security are to be endangered…. I declare that I have no purpose directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so….”

By the time Gettysburg had come he had a whole different take that required the south to rejoin the Union and abolish slavery. “His speech at Gettysburg reveals his change,” Mahoney said. “A lot has happened. They thought the War would be over sooner and the War has been larger, deadlier and costlier than he ever could imagine. Now he took action and drafted the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves. It was a radical move from a man who said he would keep slavery intact.”

The final focus is on Lincoln’s final speech on Reconstruction that was given just three days before his assassination. This is the speech focused on putting the nation back together and suggested a new future with biracial democracy. This speech so enraged John Wilkes Booth that it moved him to assassinate Lincoln at Ford’s theater. The exhibit ends with the bed where Lincoln dies after being shot by Booth.

“The exhibit focuses on the ideas of slavery, racial equality and cessation, these are the key issues,” Cornelius said.

Check out this exhibit for yourself, it is quite amazing the history in this display. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is located at 212 North Sixth Street, Springfield, Illinois 62701. Call (800) 610-2094 for information or Pick up the February issue of Senior News & Times or subscribe. You can find out more about Senior News by logging onto

Note the picture was provided by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.

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Dwight Emerson, a Ford immersion


This past summer I had the chance to see some awesome Ford tractors but never as many cool ones at one place as at Dwight Emstrom’s amazing museum outside of Galesburg, Illinois. This retired farmer has been collecting Ford tractors or literature and memorabilia for some time and he decided to put it all on display at his museum which he calls Emstrom’s Farm Antiques.

The museum which I had been meaning to revisit for years was on our way to the Dyersville Toy Show so we stopped and checked out what is new and different. Dwight got started with Fords as a boy after his Albert Emstrom got a 9N in 1939. “That was the first tractor dad ever had,” Dwight said.

From then on, the expansion kept rolling. With a coast to coast trucking business, Dwight had the chance to pick up tractors from California and the East Coast. He has some wonderful tractors that anyone interested in either antique tractors or Fords would enjoy.

Some of the highlights of Dwight’s museum which has had visitors from all around the country as well as foreign nations include his 1947 Ford Ferguson 2N tractor with special tires that graced the pages of a DuPont calendar. Three early 1939 9N aluminum hood 9N’s are pretty awesome especially Dwight’s favorite, the 16th 9N made, the earliest one known to exist. “This was the first to roll off the factory floor. It came from California. As far as documents, it is the earliest N series tractor still in existence,” Dwight added.

Probably the most historical tractor that Dwight owns is the 1939 9N Ford that belonged to Henry Ford and came from his farm. “This was an experimental tractor,” Dwight said. “A guy called me and told me where it was.”

There is also the 1959 Model 1871 with an Elanco Front Wheel Drive, a 1958 741 with a Sherman transmission. There is also the 1964 400 hicrop diesel that came out of New Orleans. “This was used for vegetable farming,” Dwight added.

Dwight’s collection also includes some unusual implements like a Lindeman 2-Way plow. He also has a massive collection of clocks and signs along with toys and literature. We had a great time visiting with this wonderful man we consider a friend and looking over his lifetime Ford collection.

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Toys are coming again to the Peoria Farm Toy Show!


The National Farm Toy Show is now history but farm toy collectors in central Illinois can rev up for the 2014 Peoria Farm Show where toys again will be part of the mix. Held at the Peoria Civic Center on 201 W Jefferson Ave., the Peoria Farm Toy Show will be held in conjunction with the 2014 Peoria Farm Machinery Show on December 2-4th.




Collector Dave Copple is spearheading the event which took place for the first time last year. This show is sponsored by the Peoria County Farm Bureau. Bring your checkbooks and your Christmas list, Santa may be flying in with just the collectible you have been looking for.

Call Dave at 309-338-2252 for questions. You can also log onto the website at or check them out on Facebook!

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Cell Phone parking at St. Louis Lambert International Airport, a blessing

Recently I went to pick up a family member from the airport and took my good friend Janna with me. Janna is from the area so besides the companionship on the ride down, she also knew how to get there with minimum distress and she knew about the cool cell parking tip.

There are two lots at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. These parking zones offer free waiting zones for motorists who need to pick up passengers. The website outlines the details about the lots. “The Cell Phone Lot for Terminal 1 is one-half mile east of Cypress on Lambert International Boulevard. The Cell Phone Lot for Terminal 2 is inside Lambert’s Cargo City complex on the north side of Air Cargo Road, approximately 1/3 mile east of Terminal 2. Air Cargo Road connects with the Terminal 2 entrance just off of Lambert-International Boulevard.”

It is just like sitting at a drive in movie only the show is the flight arrival and status is on the screen allowing waiting pick drivers like me to see what is going on. While waiting you are required to remain in the car, but there is a very clean porta potty bathroom that even has a sink for washing up on hand. This spot makes it perfect so you don’t have to keep circling waiting for your passenger to walk out the door because there no parking and waiting until the passenger is walking right to the car.

The cell phone park works great, we parked and just visited until my sister called and said they had arrived. It took minutes to get to the arrival section, pick her up and head out.

Just thought I would pass along the tip. Making travel easier is a blessing whether you are the traveler or the one patiently awaiting your loved one’s arrival!

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The No-Stress HolidayMaking the holidays easier with the Organizer: An All-in-One Guide to Planning and Recording Your Holidays

With Halloween behind us now, the focus is quickly turning to the upcoming big three, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. This year I have a goal to be prepared and try to get things done early so I can enjoy some of the local and travel opportunities that the season brings. To do this though takes organization so when I had the opportunity to review the The No-Stress Holiday Organizer: An All-in-One Guide to Planning and Recording Your Holidays, I jumped at the chance.

The 144 page book is really a workbook. The ideas are not all new, but they are put together in a unique way that makes you think about the minute details that are easy to overlook.
By following the steps outlined in the book, they really do help remove the last minute issues that cause holidays to lose their joy of entertaining. Festivities can be fun, it just takes planning ahead and staying within the allotted budget you set out.

Once suggestion that seems simple but I thought really made things easier was the grocery list that was broken down by sections that correspond to grocery aisles. As you make the holiday recipe list, shopping in this orderly way saves time and back tracking reducing the chance to forget important items. This list will make it easy to shop not only at the holidays but to use as a standard anytime.
Another part of the organizer that I loved was the places they offer to add in the personal family traditions makes this personal. Every family has their own traditions and by recording them it makes it easy to recall, plan and look back on.

After Thanksgiving traditions, invitations, lists and memories, they added in an unexpected Black Friday shop till you drop list with the stores. For anyone planning a Black Friday attack, they have this covered!
Besides the Christmas To Do list, the No-Stress Holiday Organizer: An All-in-One Guide to Planning and Recording Your Holidays offers the frugal tip to plan a budget ahead of time. I personally wish I had thought this out before starting my own Christmas shopping. I like the variety of the list because there is almost always someone that is forgotten along the way and this helps keep that from happening. The list covers gifts for everyone and how much to spend along with ideas.

On the party planning section for the Christmas party I like the idea of doing an inventory of equipment. I had a dinner party recently and I had forgotten that at a previous occasion my wine opener broke. I had wine and no way to open it. This trick would prevent that from happening.

The organizer also adds altruistic ideas like donating to a food pantry, gifts for the less fortunate and ideas to help everyone celebrate like having a cookie exchange at the party. I really like the idea of bringing a donation for those less fortunate; this brings the real reason for the holidays to light and puts a neat spin on a party idea.

In all of the party planning the reflections section after the events helps make the holiday an event to remember not just a flash in the pan that is over and done with. Pictures and reflections can help us enjoy the event all over again.

The format is basically the same for each section, but by following the game plan, you will be organized and less stressed about the big events. Following the budget for parties and at Christmas will especially help keep harmony in the home.

I also liked the New Year’s Goal ideas where they want you to identify goals for yourself as well as your family and list the steps it will take to get there making achievement more realistic. For a chance to add the organizer to your own holiday planning, log onto and order away!

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