Last Homesteader’s Tractor, Arrives at National Monument West of Beatrice

Last Homesteader’s Tractor, Arrives at National Monument West of Beatrice
Dr. C.T. Frerichs helps cut the shipping wrap, from the 1945 Alllis Chalmers Model C

BEATRICE –  An old Allis Chalmers Tractor used in Alaska by the nation’s last homesteader under the Homestead Act of 1862, has arrived at the Homestead National Monument of America, west of Beatrice.

It’s recovery from the homestead of Kenneth Deardorff was made possible by a generous donation from Dr. C.T. Frerichs, of Beatrice, and the Friends of the Homestead.  Dr. Frerichs, who Monday helped cut the shipping plastic covering the machine, provided a significant donation to acquire the tractor in the memory of his wife, Julia.  She came to Beatrice from Georgia, sat on the seat of a similar tractor, and became Frerich’s wife.

:08                  “to you”

Frerichs thanked Homestead National Monument of America Superintendent Mark Engler, Friends of the Homestead President Diane Vicars and David Hendee, author of an Omaha World-Herald story regarding the tractor’s discovery and efforts to recover it.  Vicars says the tractor is significant for being part of a decades-long history of homesteading.

:25                  “full circle”

Before going on display at the monument’s Heritage Center, Engler says the 1945 model-C will first go to the Lester Larsen Tractor and Power Museum, where University of Nebraska students will do conservation treatment work on the machine.

:24                  “his homestead claim”

Engler said the goal is to maintain the appearance of the tractor as it was being used, and to demonstrate the role of the tractor in homesteading.

:12                  “123 years”

Facility Manager Rob Ruskamp of the Homestead National Monument led the team that traveled to Alaska to recover the tractor, and to prepare it to be helicoptered off the Deardorff homestead.  It was placed on a barge and shipped, to Anchorage, to Seattle, then was trucked to Nebraska.  Ruskamp says the truck driver, at first didn’t fully realize the importance of what was in the crate he was transporting.

:16                  “some pictures”

Homestead officials anticipate the tractor will be returned to the National Monument in late fall, to go on display inside the main entrance of the Heritage Center.

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