Exhibit: Antique Tractor Building

Project Chairman Reggie Chester really dug in and did a masterful job of planning and funding the construction of the Museum’s Tractor Building. Speed was not a goal, but the project was one of the fastest and most efficient building projects to date. Reg had many volunteers, and here is a PARTIAL list: John Bartholomew, Reg and Mary Jean Chester, Wayne Day, Dave Gibson, Chuck Goolden, Lee Goolden, Gary Hargrave, Wayne Hill, Myron Langford, Shaun Losey, Don Lustyik, Elaine and Frank McDonald, Jon Mouthorp, Terry Mouthorp, Ted Schulz, Wayne Stark, and Lee Williams.

The History of the Antique Tractor Building

Note: The below articles were newsletter snippets written by Roger Austin.

Reg Chester has been working with designers and others on a building that would have an antique tractor showroom for visitors, tractor storage for the growing collection, and a year-round shop for repairs and restorations.

As this Newsletter goes to press, a letter from the Sweetgrass Foundation informs us that it has awarded the Museum a $10,000 matching/challenge grant in support of the construction of the Antique Tractor Exhibit Building. Every new dollar raised and received between October 1, 2013, and October 31, 2014, for this project will be matched up to a total of $10,000. The projected cost of the 4,000 square foot building is $70,000. The match of future gifts from members and friends along with gifts and pledges already received greatly enhances the chance of starting construction in 2014. The new facility will be located next to the red Collection Building. It will include a front showroom, a year-round shop for restorations, and space to house the Museum’s growing collection of vintage tractors. Thank you, Sweetgrass!

Tractor Building Construction Begins. Burns Construction will start the first phase in April 2014.

Nov – Dec 2013 

A team of volunteers broke ground to begin construction of the Antique Tractor Exhibit Building. They removed and stockpiled topsoil from the 50 X 100-foot foundation area, hauled sand from the Museum’s sand pit to backfill the site, and spread gravel on top. The team consisted of trucker Robert Bixby, Tom Brothers and his Ford dump truck, project leader Reg Chester hauling sand with his farm tractor and trailer, Wayne Hill, Jim McGraw operating Jim Curtis’s excavator, and Ken Tupper on his JD farm tractor with front loader. Construction will resume in the spring after the winter rain and snow settles the site. In November a check for $3,000 was received from the Sea-Comm Federal Credit Union, presented by its president Scott Wilson. A check for $500 was sent from Farm Credit East by Michael Haycook, Potsdam Branch Manager. In addition, members have been coming forward to meet the $10,000 matching challenge by the Sweetgrass Foundation, with about $2,000 received so far. Gifts will be matched dollar for dollar. Further support is still needed to meet the projected building cost of $72,000.

January – March – 2013 

Even as winter grips the North Country, planning has continued so work can get underway when the ground thaws. With funding promoted by the Sweetgrass Foundation challenge grant, the Antique Tractor Building could see construction begin in April. Concrete work and framing will be done by Burns Construction. Jim Mitchel will saw boards for siding in June.

April – June 2014

Everyone has been amazed to see how rapidly the Antique Tractor Building arose from the cold winter ground. Just as amazing has been the installation of its standing seam roof by RSI Roofing, Inc. of Gouverneur, NY. Last year, Roger LaPierre, RSI’s CEO, met Trustee Wayne Hill at the Dairy Princess Parade in Canton. Wayne invited Roger to the June Exhibition where he gave him a grand tour of our facilities and activities. Hearing of plans to build a facility for antique tractors, Roger said he would donate the roof. During May, Joel LaPierre and a crew of six from RSI arrived with a roll of steel and a machine to form the roofing panels. With two more days of work, the job was complete. Reg Chester has chaired the Building Committee with members including Al Garrand, Dave Baker, Jim McGraw, Jon Mouthorp, and Ken Tupper. Construction started last year with ground preparation. Ken Tupper and Jim McGraw removed soil and set a sand base. Burns Construction, LLC was contracted to erect the building’s frame and pour concrete footwalls.

May 2014 Photos

August 2014 (Story From North Country Now)

MADRID — The St. Lawrence Power and Equipment Museum’s antique tractor collection will have a home of its own soon thanks to nearly $55,000 in fundraising efforts. In 2013, Reggie Chester, the Museum’s Vice President, along with other Museum members, began to realize the need for a display building and restoration shop, which would provide a central location at 1755 State Highway 345 for the many vintage tractors that belong to the Museum, according to Museum officials. Chester, along with the Tractor Building Committee, including Wayne Hill, Don Lustyik, Ken Tupper, Wayne Stark and Leon Cline saw the dream become a reality in the fall of 2013. With the help of supporters, the creation of a multi-use building has begun to house the Museum’s antique tractor collection, while also providing additional space for a repair shop and an area for demonstrations during the Museum’s two yearly exhibitions.

Fundraising efforts included a goal of $70,000. To date, Museum officials say they have raised $55,000 which allowed the start of construction. Gifts of labor and supplies included a truckload of 14-foot long logs donated by Pat Curran of Seaway Timber Harvesting. Jim Mitchell used his homemade sawmill to produce 8,000 board feet of lumber to create siding for the building. RSI Roofing of Gouverneur provided 6,000 square feet of commercial grade standing seam roofing and labor for the installation of the roof. Burns Construction of Madrid was contracted to frame in the building.

Museum representatives say they hope to have the tractor building up and enclosed before next winter and are looking forward to a permanent home for its resident antique tractors.

September – October 2014

Though still under construction, members and visitors alike enjoyed the Antique Tractor Building during the Fall Exhibition. Even with a line of tractors on display there was room for the Kids Pedal Tractor Pull on Saturday and Races on Sunday. After framing was completed by Burns Construction, Reg Chester, Leon Cline, Wayne Hill, Don Lustyik, and Wayne Stark had added siding sawn by sawyer Jim Mitchell and members. This had been accomplished during Exhibitions using logs donated by Pat Curran at Seaway Timber Harvesting, Inc. It fit snugly under the roof previously installed and donated by RSI Roofing. Wayne Day, Shaun Losey, and Ted Schulz connected power to the building. The painting and battens crews followed with John Bartholomew, Reg and Mary Jean Chester, Chuck Goolden, Lee Goolden, Gary Hargrave, Myron Langford, Don Lustyik, Wayne Stark, and Lee Williams pitching in. Haggett Construction loaned a man-lift so the high gable ends could be reached. As funds shrank and installation of exterior overhead doors became doubtful, SeaComm Federal Credit Union made a generous donation of $5,000 to save the day. Exterior doors were installed by Kelly Sales Corp. Wayne Stark has made a handsome Antique Tractor Building sign for the front. With the generous support of members and friends including the earlier challenge grant from the Sweetgrass Foundation, the building is now filled with tractors and ready for winter. Work will resume next spring.

November 10, 2014 : Federal Credit Union Presents a Gift of $5,000.

Scott Wilson (left), CEO of SeaComm Federal Credit Union presents a gift of $5,000 to Roger Austin, Secretary, Reginald Chester, Museum Vice-President, and Sherry Thompson (right), Vice President of Retail Operations for SeaComm look on.

MADRID — The St. Lawrence Power & Equipment Museum received a $5,000 donation from SeaComm Federal Credit Union to help with building the Museum’s Antique Tractor Building. Directed by Museum Vice-President Reginald Chester, Museum members have been putting finishing touches on its exterior. Purchase of exterior overhead doors made possible by the gift will assure a snug winter for the new building. Further work remains on the building’s interior, which will have three sections. A front showroom will feature restored tractors as they might have been exhibited more than 50 years ago. There will also be a fully equipped and winterized maintenance and restoration shop that will also have instruction for members and others. The balance of the facility will provide needed space for the Museum’s antique tractor collection. The new building will bring Museum areas under cover to nearly 30,000 square feet.

The Museum’s mission is to preserve and share the knowledge of the inventions and new technologies that have supported and improved the lives of people living in the North Country of New York.

November 2016

At the November 2016 fall Members meeting, Reggie Chester informed members that the lighting in the display and storage area of the Tractor Building is completed so the building is now fully lighted. This should enhance the Tractor Building wedding receptions which have become a popular event at the Museum along with the general use of the building. The workshop area received insulation and more lighting in early in 2016.


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