How cool is a show dedicated to everything John Deere Green? This was the 2016 show and the Gathering comes around every two years to Davenport, Iowa where collectors immerse themselves in everything to do with the agricultural giant that has been making history in the Quad Cities year after year. At the Gathering one of the biggest draws for me was the artistic placing of equipment all over the River Center and even in the beautiful hotels like the historic Blackhawk that we stayed in.
The Blackhawk lobby had a corn binder right in the middle beneath the stained glass vaulted ceiling, how cool was that?. At the Blackhawk Hotel, where I was very excited to find they also offer historic tours, Sheldon Wellman the tour guide also serves as the bellman and as the technical support specialist. Sheldon said of the John Deere in the midst of his four star hotel, “It is neat to have these tractors here during the Gathering of the Green. This elegant hotel gets to have a taste of Iowa for our guests.”
It was Ed Vieth of Davenport, IA that served as the chairman of the display committee. “Our committee was made up of a dozen or so people,” Ed said. “My co-chair is Duane Munn; he is a farmer by Dixon, Iowa.”
“We decided Forge to Farm, a haying scene really left us open,” Ed added. The center hall had displays on the sides and down the center. A small blacksmith shop display promoted the Forge to Farm theme logo and in the center section they offered a Forge to Farm hay timeline. The timeline included a variety of equipment that moved through various phases of hay harvest evolution.
The timeline began with a 1934 John Deere GP tractor hooked to a John Deere sweep rake circa 1929-1935. “There is only one other sweep rake that I know of,” Ed said. “In this evolution, the sweep rake pushed the hay, but it didn’t lift.”
The next evolution was the hay loader that featured a Baker Bar cylinder from the 1930’s. “The hay loader will bring the hay up and put it into the wagon for you,” Ed said.
Next they moved into the mechanized era with a John Deere Model #22 hay conditioner. “It cuts and then squeezes moisture out of the hay and lays it into a windrow,” Ed said.
The last evolution offered was a hay baler that was a John Deere 14T. The unit was hooked to a 1941 John Deere B that was the last of four consecutive serial number B’s owned by the Olson family.
The center hall had displays on the sides and down the center. A small blacksmith shop display promoted the Forge to Farm theme logo and in the center section they offered a Forge to Farm hay timeline. The equipment was not only put into place, but brickwork, flowers and art accompanied the pieces.
The displays had snow mobiles, lawn and garden tractors, a hay mow that had belonged to Ed’s grandfather and so much more.
Each piece of machinery told a story, in fact, two stories, first there is the story connected with John Deere, when did they make the piece, who sold it, and where was it sold from. The second part of the story is who owned it and who owns it now, where has it traveled? These are the stories I love to tell.