Repair Boiler in 1903 J.I. Case Steam Traction Engine

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2018 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund
North Central Minnesota Farm and Antique Association
Recipient Type
Non-Profit Business/Entity
Start Date
June 2018
End Date
June 2019
Activity Type
Counties Affected
St. Louis
St. Louis
Project Details

NCMFAA owns a J.I. Case 1903 Steam traction engine. A leak in the mudleg area of the firebox must be repaired to preserve the historical integrity so it can be demonstrated for educational purposes. Escher Fenske, a Faribault County farmer purchased the engine new in 1903. In addition to purchasing the standard engine, he also bought two optional accessories, a canopy to protect it from the weather and a pull behind water and fuel tender. Both pieces remain with the engine today.

In 2013 a water leak in the mudleg area of the boiler and firebox was discovered. The boiler is under tremendous pressure when the engine is fired. The metal separating the firebox and boiler must pass strict pressure test in order to be certified operational.

An ultrasound test and a Borescope inspection a Minnesota Department of Labor Boiler inspector revealed that the left and back slant bottom of the mudlegs on the furnace box are thinning and must be cut out and replaced. The engine cannot safely be fired up and pressurized until the compromised area was replaced and the engine re-inspected. Technicians evaluated the problem and develop a repair plan with the stipulation any repairs that are done must not alter the exterior appearance or impact the historical integrity of the machine.

The vintage Case steam traction engine has been restored to safe operating condition. It was demonstrated during the August 11-12 2018 Blackberry Farm show. The engine has been winterized under the conditions of the maintenance plan. It will be demonstrated at future Education Days and farm shows as a historical icon of rural American agriculture.

Recipent: North Central Minnesota Farm and Antique Association
Amount: $10,000

Competitive Grant Making Body
Board Members and Qualifications
Advisory Group Members and Qualifications
Conflict of Interest Disclosed
Legal Citation / Subdivision
MN Laws 2017 Chapter 91, Article 4, Section 2, Subdivision 4 Historical Grants and Programs
Appropriation Language

$4,500,000 the first year and $6,500,000 the second year are for history programs and projects operated or conducted by or through local, county, regional, or other historical or cultural organizations or for activities to preserve significant historic and cultural resources. Funds are to be distributed through a competitive grant process. The Minnesota Historical Society must administer these funds using established grant mechanisms, with assistance from the advisory committee created under Laws 2009, chapter 172, article 4, section 2, subdivision 4, paragraph (b), item (ii).

2018 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Direct expenses
Administration costs
Number of full time equivalents funded
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

Available upon request.

Measurable Outcome(s)

Over 1000 people witnessed Engine #13387 being fired up during the 2018 farm show after necessary structural repairs were completed and inspections passed. The steam engine powered a vintage Case threshing machine and participated in the machinery parade.
The project fell short of expectations due to the timing of the fundraising and scheduling of the repairs. NCMFAA successfully completed the matching grant fundraising by June 1. Delays in complying with the Heritage Grant conditions pushed the start of the project to about July 15. Scheduling the contractor to do the work further pushed to project closer to the show date. Due to the uncertainty of whether or not the work would be completed on time and pass inspection caused us not to do any press releases. As it turned out, the work was completed and the tests and inspections done on Friday August 10 just in time for weekend show. A temporary acknowledgement sign was made and a dedication ceremony was held on Saturday afternoon.
Plans are underway to create a permanent sign for future exhibitions.

Source of Additional Funds

Available upon request,

Recipient Board Members
Bruce Gould, President, Mike Wilber Vice President, Bev Talonen Secretary, Teresa Card, Treasurer, Board Members Mary Lou Dewey, Roger Morrill, Duane Frahm, Ed Nelson
Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
North Central Minnesota Farm and Antique Association
Street Address
25313 US Highway 2, PO Box 5041
Grand Rapids
Zip Code
(218) 966-1354
Administered By
Administered by

345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155