(Top two photos) It is the good fortune of Collier Park’s Logging Museum that Brian Brown has had a love of steam driven equipment for his entire lifetime. He and other members of the Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Assoc. have helped restore three antique engines and are making plans to do more. (Bottom photo) Living History Day is a family affair for the Brown’s. Wife, Danita, and daughter, Lindsey, are pictured here with the horse and buggy they brought to last year’s event.They also dress in period clothing and demonstrate hand quilting. As Chairperson, Danita helped organize our first Living History Day!
Brian Brown was born into a Fort Klamath family that has been ranching and lumbering since 1892 when his great- grandfather, Daniel Gilbert Brown, settled on the west side of Klamath Lake. He surveyed and designed logging railroads on Pelican Butte in the early 1900’s. His grandfather, Fred Brown, had a westside sawmill in the 1930’s. His grandfather’s brother, Francis D. Brown, ran his own logging company until the late 1980’s. One of the exhibits at the Collier Logging Museum is O.K. Puckett’s tug boat which was used for the very last time by Francis Brown to haul a log raft of blowdown trees from Malone Springs over to Klamath Lumber and Box in the late 50’s.
Brian grew up around sawmills and lumber camps. He loved being around the old equipment as a child. With friends, John Bodnar, Roger Reed, Don Philpot and others he started the Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association in the late 1980’s. The group sponsors the annual threshing bee held every year in Hildebrand, where Brian’s father, Grant Brown lives. In fact, this year, the group will host the National Show which will be ten times bigger than anything they’ve every done before!
It was this Early Day Tractor group that approached Collier Park with an offer to restore park steam equipment in exchange for being able to demonstrate the equipment at the annual threshing bees. Thus, a mutually beneficial alliance was formed!
As a professional engineer, it was Brian’s part to determine if a piece of equipment could “live again.” He would carefully evaluate the pipes and gears to see if restoration was safely possible and give technical advice to others who did the actual repairs. So far they have restored a little 8 hp Russell portable Steam engine, a big 25 hp Altman Taylor steam tractor, and a Westinghouse upright steam engine.
What Brian loves most of all is Living History Day when he gets to fire up these old treasures for others to enjoy too!