In the 1950s, a group of local farmers felt nostalgic.
Before World War II, they tended the land with wheat thrashers and steam engines, but as technology improved, their tools fell out of use and things started to change. Channeling their nostalgia into action, farmers pulled their old equipment out and invited the public in. In Oregon, just shy of Silverton, the Western Steam Fiends were born and continued the tradition of showcasing old farming equipment, culminating in the purchase of land to do just that in 1970.
“When they bought it, it was just farmland. They’d grow some grain and put their machines out there,” said Evan Burroughs. “Now, it’s a complex of 14 museums.”
The 62-acre complex is now named Powerland Heritage Park and will host the 52nd annual Oregon Great Steam-Up starting July 30, headed by Burroughs and his army of more than 1,000 volunteers.