Palmer Fossum’s vintage tractor collection: an economic development opportunity

We got this email from Victor Summa over the weekend. I’ve added the links and photos.

Palmer Fossum Palmer Fossum Ford tractor Here’s a challenge for LG.  It’s called using our history … retaining our meaning. 

In the 9[26]09 N News there’s an article on the Palmer Fossum vintage tractor collection being auctioned.  [see] the auctioneer’s E page on the collection.  The Fossum farm is east of town on 100th street. (continued)

Regarding potential economic development, might this be an excellent opportunity for the community to create a destination venue?

Like the DT Grain Elevator we lost a few year back, (also an incredible icon and reference point to the past, thus N’flds role: Ag Land Leader)  this collection should not be lost.  (Incidentally I caused some ruckus over that transgression (Elevator).  Where was LG then?)

Of course it would take a gigantic effort at this late time to make this even approach reality, but for LG, this might be a worthwhile E  dialogue.  I can see in the future, the Palmer Fossum Farmland Museum.  Maybe the Q block … (who knows?)  as the rail stop for visitors (see more on that  below)

FUNDING:  A 100K each from the business community (Rotary?)  The City/EDA, Chamber and CVB, Malt-o-Meal, each of the colleges, 10 K from each Township, A dollar from each kindergarten student. etc … might be enough to kick-start the process.

If you think about the surrounds to N’fld and how N’fld, at least arguably … is a legitimate siting for such a venue … then adding in the Big Woods and the rural significance of that …  A tour of the historic churches dotting the area. Thorsten Veblen’s (splg?) farmstead, and much more … I guess if some one doesn’t soon see the potential significance of such possibilities … then perhaps all is lost.  Of course there’s’ always a Water Park Attraction and DJJD (gag!)

Here’s the real kicker!  In short, why isn’t such an idea examined for its potential of being the anchor development of the N West Territory … or the Prawer Gill properties (which i understand at one time was the St Olaf Farm and supplied the food for the college: meat vegetables, milk and ice cream …) it goes on, beyond my personal knowledge and comprehension.. 

e.g. Go visit the cemetery at Valley Grove.  See the local art that springs from the farmland.  Related opportunities abound. 

The Waterford truss bridge.  The Ames Mill, the ruins of the Dundas Mill . The otherwise invasive RR through town, suddenly takes on a significance of being the DT commuter stop for visitors. add a jitney service serving tours … to the country and the Fossum Museum.

While this may take 20 years to fully develop, it certainly has more immediate potential than spending other millions on infrastructure to either of the annexation sites.  Here is a definable purpose!

Finally, if nothing else, is this not the kind of discussion that might make LG’s dialogue more significant to the real issues in Northfield, rather than some of the back-and-forth that otherwise goes on?



  1. David Henson said:

    Victor, yours is a brilliant idea! Maybe the city could loan the money to the historic museum with a lien again the inventory. Being it is a balance sheet transaction this could be looked at as an investment. Finding a way to display the tractors all over town would really be an ideal tourist draw.

    September 28, 2009
  2. Robbie Wigley said:

    I love this idea. Palmer was one of the first people we met in town over 30 years ago. My 3 boys loved seeing his tractors when we went out to the farm to talk to him about plowing our megar garden. He has some really wonderful vintage tractors! It wouldn’t matter if they ran either.

    September 28, 2009
  3. Charlene Hamblin said:

    I recall the Wigley’s being on my Dad’s/Palmer’s “egg route” years ago when he would deliver farm fresh egg’s to the homes of those in town, along with a number of city-folk coming out to our farm to buy milk fresh out of the bulk tank.  Thanks for the fun memories, Robbie!

    November 19, 2009
  4. Griff Wigley said:

    Hi Charlene,

    Palmer tilled our vegetable garden in the spring and fall but I’d forgotten about the egg deliveries. Indeed, thanks for that memory… way back in the late 70s and early 80s.

    November 19, 2009

Leave a Reply