Come and celebrate the Debut of the Spencer Tractor and our new Canal Pavilion. There will be food and a Yard Sale in the pavilion. Please come and support us on this occasion at the Canal Park at Lock 31 Pavilion on August 29, 2020 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM and feel free to explore the Towpath and Trails we have on our property.
Additional News Article Provided by The Tricounty Indenpendent
By Peter Becker
Posted: October 9, 2019
WHITE MILLS - The 1888 Spencer steam tractor, resurrected from a heap of ruin, came out into the sunshine Friday morning, October 4. It wasn’t hard to imagine its creator, David Spencer at the wheel, when the man who led the restoration effort, Fred Murray, climbed into the cab and guided its triumphant return.
The tractor was moving on its own wheels when it was pulled by Augello Excavating from the bay at New Wave Woodworking, White Mills. The tractor was secured on a flatbed trailer and after many pictures were snapped, was pulled up Route 6 to the railroad garage on Brown Street, Honesdale for the next several months.
Rudy Schemitz, owner of New Wave, was on hand to witness the tractor’s exit from his facility where the volunteers worked on it for nearly two years.
Having need of the space which he let the tractor crew use at no cost, the Wayne County Historical Society was in need of a new site.
Although they had permission to store it at the Wayne County Fairgrounds over the winter, Murray pushed for a more secure, indoors location where they could also finish the restoration. Tom Myles, owner of the Delaware Lackawaxen & Stourbridge Railroad, allowed them to use their train building.
Although the tractor restoration is almost finished, Murray said there are a few more things they need to do. They include fastening a draw bar and brakes and some small items such as trim and moulding.
“Everything has worked out,” Murray reflected, as he gazed at the wood and iron machine. ”...I’m just elated!“
He spoke highly of his fellow volunteers, who with him he called the “Five Star Bunch”: Richard Robbins, Rod Warner;
Frank Ward: and Steve Weber. For nearly two years, they labored on what has been called a jigsaw puzzle, studying, cleaning parts, refurbishing what they could not salvage, and crafting together a compete tractor as close as they could to Spencer’s long lost designs. The project was hosted by the Wayne County Historical Society.
“It was a real challenge; it took a lot of ingenuity,” Frank Ward stated. “It was a terrific puzzle.”
Murray said he was at the first meeting when the Historical Society discussed restoring the antique tractor. That was over 15 years ago. “I thought it was a great project,” Murray said. “I hated to see all that effort that was done by others in the past, go down the drain.“
Steve Weber commented, “I’m truly pleased with the way things went. It was a big undertaking, but we pulled it off.“
The Historical Society board of trustees must yet decide the ultimate location where the Spencer tractor will be stored, and/or displayed. It will be put on a flat bed trailer that was donated by the late Dr. Rodney Brown, who had it several years ago when Brown was studying the possibility of restoring the Stourbridge Lion locomotive replica to run on its own steam.
The trustees ultimately decided against the idea, rather than risk the replica which hasn’t been used under its own power in several decades.
Likewise, there was no attempt to restore the Spencer tractor to move on its power, as it did in Pleasant Mount, Wayne County over 130 years ago when Spencer built the tractor to haul logs.
Even so, there was great thrill and awe to see the rebuilt artifact re-enter the sunshine, using its own hub and spoke wheels.
It came out smokestack last. Although many may think the front of the tractor is the end with the smokestack, as it would be on a steam locomotive, Murray explained that this is the back end.
Murray and his crew acquired intimate knowledge of its inner workings, given the task to rebuild this rare piece of history. He also showed how the machine it steered, a skill needed to help guide it onto the trailer as New Wave workers pushed.
Charles Augello provided for the truck to take the tractor to Honesdale. Gerald Olver was the driver.
Shemitz expressed amazement to see the tractor returned to its glory.
The Wayne County Historical Society hopes to bring the tractor out for parades and use it for education about Wayne County’s industrial and agricultural heritage. For more information, contact the Society at 570-253-3240.