Tuesday, August 16, 2005


After paying the entrance fee of $5, I turn to the left and enter the first outbuilding. It's a large pole building and inside there are a number of tables set up. Vendors are selling various tools and parts. There's a slightly odd smell in the air, which is unidentifiable to me. Growing up in the 50's and early 60's my generation was past the time when homes were heated with coal burning furnaces, and thus the smell of burning coal is new to me.

The building is fairly dark, and it's quite large. It's difficult to see clearly to the other side, but the space is punctuated by a hissing sound and a low rhythmic beat, soft and strong like a giant heart. I've entered the den of the mythical dragon - the steam engine. Like the dragons of yore, the engines breathe hot steam, their bellies filled with red hot coals.

I make my way deeper into the den and behold, find a huge engine that is powering a giant wheels. It's not apparent to me what the original purpose of this wheel might be, but other things grab my attention. I'm struck by how quiet this leviathan works.....an occasional hiss and the mesmerizing low beat and the piston and armatures set the mechanics in motion. It seems to me that the various moving parts are engaged in quiet, gentle and small motions. Surely this isn't what sets the giant wheel spinning.

As I stand before the beast, prepared to take the photo, I feel as though I've been transported to another time and place. A place where giant machines ruled the earth. Dr. Emmett Brown has somehow taken us "Back to the Future" when the steam engine was king.


Anonymous said...

Enjoying your awesome pics of country living. Found your site from Big Happy Fun House and that wonderful prom pic - I am same age - so I can identify with that one! Grew up in Detroit - moved out to rural area which is now seeing major development - so sad....thanks for the great pics! Cathy

pilgrim said...

Beautiful!! Seems right out from a Jules Verne novel. I love those brass-ringed instruments and indicators.

Zanne said...

Yes!! Jules Verne comes to mind and also Dr. Brown's fantastic machines in the Back to the Future series. Behind the trio of dials is a twirling element - (manomometer??) that spins. The entire effect is of a giant toy. FANTASTIC!

Paul said...

Fabulous! Thanks!