Restoring an 'American Treasure' — a 1945 Allis Chalmers
University of Nebraska Tractor Restoration Club members are preserving a tractor used on the nation's final Homestead for display at the Homestead National Monument of America near Beatrice.
For a small group of students involved with the Tractor Restoration Club at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, fixing up tractors from their great-grandparents’ era is a key part of college life.
Created in 2005, the club typically restores two or three tractors a year, to be used either for display at the Lester Larsen Tractor Test and Power Museum or sold for the benefit of the museum.
The club has been presented an unusual challenge for 2017-18: to prepare a 1945 Allis Chalmers Model C for display at the Homestead National Monument near Beatrice.
Members will meet Oct. 12 with Al Levitan, a conservator from West Virginia who is consulting for the Friends of Homestead, to discuss how to recover and ready the little tractor with a tricycle-style front end for permanent display. Forty years ago, it was used to clear land on the last homestead claim in the United States, filed in 1974.
Retired Beatrice physician C.T. Frerichs provided financial support to the Friends of Homestead for the conservation project.
Typically, club members aim to make their projects run like new and gleam like they’re fresh from the assembly line. Their goal with this rusty, lichen-encrusted machine will be to stop its deterioration so it can survive as a testament to one homesteader’s grit.