- Associated Press - Saturday, April 22, 2017

BISHOP HILL, Ill. (AP) - The sun was shining April 1 in historic Bishop Hill as tourists could be seen mingling about the town, visiting the Colony Store and Bishop Hill Bakery. Others went in the door of the Steeple Building, where countless toy tractors were on display.

Bob DeSchepper of Annawan had three tables filled with a variety of John Deer, Case, McCormick and more, including many smaller 1/64 scale die cast models. DeSchepper, who has collected for over 40 years, proudly showed off the various tractors.

An Army veteran and a farmer of 80 acres for many years, he pointed out three models in particular, the real-life counterparts of which he used to farm. From the Farmall M, built from 1939-1954; the McCormick-Deering B-450, built from 1958-1970; and the International Harvester 966, built from 1971-1976, one could see a bit of history.

While he now uses a walker, it was easy to imagine him a young man, pulling a plow behind his tractors through the years, as he worked the soil to provide for his family.

He smiled as he talked, explaining he has many more at home. “I didn’t take the time to dig in all the boxes,” he laughed.



Walking by Lloyd Anderson’s tables was like walking through a history of John Deere tractors. From models of the earliest Deeres to the latest modern equipment, decades of collecting and farming history filled the side of the room. From a thresher made in 1898, to armored tractors built during World War II, to the many classic John Deeres seen on the Illinois farms of parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, each holds a story.

One large toy had a disc plow behind it.

“This was my son’s when he was kid. He’s 50 now, so he hasn’t played with it in … years,” Anderson said. The plow still has dirt caked on it. “That’s the mud from when he last played with it,” he explained, “I’ll never wash it off.”

Two ancient, well-worn toys held another story.

“That one is my first tractor, from 1941,” said Anderson. “The one next to it I think I got in 1946 or 1947 at the Henry County Fair.” Anderson lives east of Bishop Hill, “only two miles from where I was born, I guess I never went very far.”

The other side of the room held a portion of the collection of Richard Carlson of Galva. His significant other, Kat Hilton, explained what he brought.

“Each year we try to bring something different,” she said. She showed two in particular, which are unique.

“A fellow in Iowa makes these,” she said, “he started by adding custom parts to Ertl models. Then he moved on to build them from scratch.” She showed how the combine really worked with moving parts and lights.

“I like the custom stuff,” smiled Carlson.

More people came to browse. Anderson exchanged stories with a fellow veteran. Eleven-year-old Summit Ovart of Kewanee softly said “wow” when he entered the room.

“I have a lot, but not as many as this,” he said.

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Source: The (Galesburg) Register-Mail, https://bit.ly/2ovO7WQ

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Information from: The Register-Mail, https://www.register-mail.com

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