our background & History

The purpose of the association is to teach and promote an appreciation of the agricultural heritage of Hendricks County and the men and women that were part of this history.  It is the goal of the association to encourage the collecting, restoration, and display of all makes and types of antique agricultural equipment that was used in this area.  The association will also promote the preservation and recording of all other aspects of farm life during the history of Hendricks County, and encourage communication between the members and the general public about our collections in particular and farm life in general.

"The Association was chartered on January 20, 1995 with 164 members present"

That may not be a totally accurate statement.

For "Here is the rest of the story":

For a few years before we were a club, a few of us were asked to show our antique tractors at the Hendricks County 4-H Fair, thanks to a Director, 

Dean Turner.  Some of us also took our tractors to the Indiana State Fair and participated in the Pioneer Village.  The idea of us forming our own club started at the 1993 State Fair.  Almost a year later, at the 1994 Hendricks County 4-H Fair, we posted a note on a clipboard with a sign-up sheet for anyone interested in having an Antique Tractor Club.  A few people signed the sheet.  By then the idea was being spread by word of mouth.  Later in the fall, I met with Judy Pingle, who was introduced to me by Tom Lyle. Judy and I came up with a plan to get the Hendricks County Flyer involved. I set up a small display of antique tractors and implements in my back yard.  A reporter came out and talked to Judy and I about our plans to have an organizational meeting in November.  He took some pictures of our display to put with the article that was printed in the paper.  During this time there were others who were involved in getting people aware of the planning meeting.  Such places as John Stegemoller's shop, Jim Loughmiller's office at Midland Coop, 

Gary Emsweller's office at the Purdue Extension office. Pat Oles and others were contacting many people throughout the county.  Our first meeting in November 1994, we filled the small room we had reserved with about 50 people.  28 people joined that night.  At the December meeting, even a larger crowd and 41 more joined.  That was a total of 69 members.  We had our first Elections on January 6, 1995.  The severe weather an icy roads kept many from attending, but 30 people braved the elements anyway.  By our "Charter Night" our membership was up to 140. Once again, the weather was bad. 

Even with a blizzard, our speaker, Mauri Williamson, drove down from Lafayette.  We still had a large crowd and many guests.  By the end of the night, we had over 160 people signed up to join our organization.  Since that time, we have continued to grow, not only in number of members, but in the scope of our projects.  We encourage anyone with an interest in old tractors, equipment, or any old artifacts related to farming to join our association. We are proud of our agricultural heritage which is shown by our members displaying various tractors, machinery, even old trucks and engines at shows, parades, fairs and wherever there is an event to do so.  There are many opportunities for our members to participate in showing off their treasures or talk to people about them.  We also have some property we use to till, plant and harvest crops with our vintage machines.  We get our most exposure to the public at the Hendricks County 4-H Fair.  As well as our member's displays, we help by driving shuttles, putting on contests and greeting people as they come into the fair.  We are a family oriented group, with members from various backgrounds.  Most of our gatherings are fun filled and usually involve food.  From a snack, refreshments, sandwiches, pitch-ins to catered meals.  As well as telling many "stories", we also seem to be well fed.

"Welcome and enjoy"

Bert Thalls, President

Hendricks County Antique Tractor and Machinery Association, Inc.