Western Illinois Threshers History

Petting ZooFrom what began in the spring of 1968 as a group of neighbors met in farm shop north of Hamilton, Illinois, discussing how they wanted to display their growing collection of antique tractors, has grown in today what we know as Western Illinois Threshers, Inc. whose members work throughout the year to prepare for their three-day annual show that educates, entertains, and to many, brings back a fond memory of bygone ways of life. The 2016 show will mark the 49th anniversary of keeping the Threshers' dream alive, helping thousands to come and learn and to remember.

Original ThreshersOrganized in 1968 and incorporated in 1971 under the General Not for Profit Corporation Act, the group's main goals are to educate, to demonstrate and to inform the youth and citizens of today of the methods and usages of agricultural production and transportation of the past. At the same time, the group works to preserve the skills of the homemakers of the past era and keep alive the strong sense of home, family, and community.

First QuiltFrom the first Threshing Bee that was organized by Fred Buckert, Larry Buckert, Raymond McVeigh, Lester Starr, and Leon Hartweg, the group continued to grow in size. By March, 1975 the group purchased 40 acres of land 2­1/2 miles north of Hamilton. Since the purchase of the permanent site another 40 acres has been acquired and the grounds have grown to accommodate two main buildings used as a meeting place, food stand and exhibition area, a tractor headquarters & raffle buildings, two depots, an early 1900 school house, general store, print shop, permanent steam­powered saw mill, sawyer's shed, two log cabins, a blacksmith shop, museum, an old-time gas station and in 1990, the Western Illinois Shortline Railroad was established on the grounds.

Hay Fork and WagonWestern Illinois Threshers continues to grow due to the volunteer efforts of the members and the strong community support. In addition to the show held the first Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in August, Thresher's host school tours in May for hundreds of area children.

Please click here to see more historical pictures of the Western Illinois Threshers.