The Kewaunee County Historical Society’s annual Winter History Series concludes with a look back at steam-powered farming at 1 p.m. Saturday (Feb. 16) at the society’s History Center, 217 Ellis St., Kewaunee.
Jim Rabas will be presenting the “Age of the Steam Engine” and its local influence on farming and rural Kewaunee County.
Rabas learned and experienced that history from his father, Jim Rabas Sr., who owned and operated several steam engine tractors in a custom threshing business in Northeast Wisconsin. Jim Sr. purchased his first steam engine, “The Big Jim,” when he was just 17 years old.
“Big Jim’s” fleet of steam engines totaled 14. His favorite place to be was on his steam engine, in a parade, pulling a trailer with a polka band. “There is nothing like hearing the loud, high-pitched whistle, and seeing the big puffs of steam as the Rabas steam engine makes its way down the parade route and into the history books,” the society said in its description of Saturday’s presentation.
Steam-powered engines are today seen at special events like Agricultural Heritage Days in September and at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds in Luxemburg.
A social will follow Rabas’ presentation, with a free lunch and refreshments.
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