Republic's Steam-O-Rama moves west to new show grounds outside Halltown

By: 
Ethan Gray

A rarely seen steam engine convoy travels west down Interstate-44 leaving Greene County. (Photo submitted)

A row of impressive steam engines sit ready to be off loaded at their new home in Lawrence County the afternoon of Saturday, July 22. (Photo submitted)

The Ozarks Steam Engine Association has officially moved their steam engines from Republic to their new, more spacious home in Halltown. The show has been a staple in the Republic area for 60 years and contains many steam traction engines, as well as some model steam engines for viewing. The OSEA sold their Republic show grounds and made their way to Halltown where the new grounds are being developed. The infrastructure of the new site has been receiving work since autumn of last year.

On Saturday, July 22, the OSEA packed up all of their engines onto 16-wheelers and headed out on the highway, pulling the 12 engines 15 miles in a convoy to their new Lawrence County home, which borders I-44 just west of Halltown. Their new show grounds at Whinrey Homestead is much larger than their previous, boasting 140 acres on which to host their event while the Republic show grounds were only about 34 acres, including a parking area. Dana Erickson, president of the OSEA, said that though they will miss their old home, there simply wasn't enough room anymore.

"The Republic area has been very good to us but it's getting very congested, they put the new school out adjacent to us, traffic is getting worse, getting in is getting harder." Erickson said. "There was no chance of getting more land either."

The extra space is a welcome improvement for the show grounds says Jeff Ruth, OSEA board director.

"It's like going from an apartment to a mansion,” Ruth said.

Once the steam engines arrived, teams of workers towed them off their trailers and into a row. This undertaking was no small matter,  however, as the move itself has been in planning for over a month.

"It's been a constant work in progress, and will continue to be a work in progress,” said Shelley Elliott, secretary of the OSEA.

Elliott said with this new land, there is new opportunity for growth. In the works is a new well, new buildings and the transportation of many other staples of the Republic fairgrounds, like the saw mill. Though Halltown presents new opportunities, the members of the OSEA will miss their old stomping grounds in Republic.

"It's very bittersweet, we have memories in every corner of the grounds." said Elliott.

Steam-O-Rama will have its first show in Halltown this September, 10 days after Labor Day.
 

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Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712
www.lawrencecountyrecord.com

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