The Antique Engine & Tractor Assoc., Inc. (AETA) was first organized as Branch 3 of the Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association in 1959. This national organization had and still has several chapters throughout the United States. Since 1970, the AETA has been an independent organization. The early association was and the current AETA is incorporated as a non profit organization with the State of Illinois. The stated purpose is “To promote the collection, restoration, preservation and exhibition of gasoline and oil engines, gasoline and steam tractors, power driven farm machinery and other equipment of historical value.”
The AETA held annual Shows at several locations around Geneseo for the first 23 years. In 1983, the AETA signed a long term lease with the Village of Atkinson for land and built the first permanent building in 1985. Since the first show in the Geneseo City park, the club has grown to over 200 members and has expanded to 33 acres. In 2008, the club had 40 acres donated to them by Bill and June Cole of Hillsdale. The new property is north of Geneseo and will provide a permanent show grounds for the AETA. Members of the organization are currently busy making the necessary plans so that a move to the new show grounds may be possible in 2010. The AETA, have several technical meetings for members each year, publish about 10 newsletters a year and participate in other festivals in the area.
The big event each year is the annual three day Working Farm Show where the AETA harvest corn and beans with mid 1900’s equipment, thresh oats or wheat, run a saw mill, plow, and demonstrate gas engines as they were used from the early to mid 1900’s. The annual show gets bigger each year with over 200 tractors, over 100 garden tractors and hundreds of gas engines, plus other agricultural memorabilia on the grounds. Every year the AETA features a different brand of antique engine and/or tractor and the past few years have hosted the Illinois state chapters of various brands of antique tractors. 2006 we hosted the Illinois Ford/Fordson Collectors; in 2007 we hosted the Massey Collectors of Illinois; in 2008 we featured Case tractors and Root & VanDervoort gas engines. In 2010 we hosted the Midwest Oliver Collectors and we will feature Minneapolis Moline tractors. The 2012 Show will feature Allis Chalmers collectors. The AETA supports the local FFA chapters’ tractor restoration projects and have events for children and youth at the annual Show. The event is always held in September, the second weekend after Labor Day.