HOW NIAGARA ANTIQUE POWER BEGAN


In August of 1966, while at work, a fellow in Ken Benner's employ by the name of Gordon Bellhouse explained in brief about some kind of old steam show that was being held in Milton, Ontario in a couple of weeks, and he thought Ken might be interested in visiting.

He asked Gord not to let him forget as the event grew closer, but as it happened Ken did forget and Gord forgot to say anything to him until the day after Labor Day. Gord asked Ken what he thought of the Steam Show and Ken was forced to tell him that he had forgotten but would definitely try the next year. Gord reminded Ken before the 1967 show and Ken, his wife Norma and boys Carl and Glen, attended their first steam show and enjoyed it immensely. Ken had always been interested in tractors and gas engines on the farm and so he enjoyed looking at all the displays and taking pictures. Being a crane operator Ken was very excited to see Ross Johnson's "Erie" steam shovel on the show grounds.

The following December Ken bought his first Irish Fordson and since then tractors and engines have been finding their way to his home on Sunset Drive Fort Erie.

The family did not attend any shows the following summer, but in 1969 they returned to Milton and attended a show in Alexander, New York. During this period interest grew in the old tractor and gas engine area. While visiting these shows Ken met and talked with people with common interests who enjoyed sharing ideas and helping one another restore projects. He was really inspired to try and help someone else enjoy this type of hobby. The idea came to Ken, of a club where members working together could make a nice show thru their willingness to work together with the purpose of preserving these items of yesterday.

Ken did not realize at the time that he knew other people in his community that were interested in gas engines and antique cars. Larry and Ann Kline and Ray Noxel all from Ridgeway had his same interests. Ken first met Ray in 1968 while Ray was working on his Model "A" Ford. Some years later Ken was talking to Ray about their interest in old machinery, they decided it might be interesting to have a little show in their area. Ray shared that a man by the name of Dave Marr and he had talked about this as well.

Between 1969 and 1971 Ken thought more and more about having a small antique display in Niagara area. He knew that there were gas engines and tractors around that had not been out of their sheds in 10 or 20 years. Ken was thinking about the older people in the area who might be interested in such a show, but were not likely to travel to Milton or Caledonia, if they had even heard of those shows.

In December of 1971 at Ken's home they decided to have a "Power Round-Up" in early summer. Saturday July 1, 1972 was chosen as the date and the location was to be at Ken's home - to be specific, behind the workshop where he played with his old rusted relics.

They were interested in power units to start with (gas engines and tractors). They sent invitations to all who lived in the area we could think of to come to the Power Round-Up.

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