Historic Parks Participate to Launch New Club
Northern Michigan now has a new historic organization, the Wellington Antique Tractor and Engine Association. The new organization headed by Carl Hunt of Merritt is being sponsored by Wellington Farm Park, a 60-acre living history museum near Grayling with financial backing provided by The Friends of Hartwick Pines, a support/volunteer organization of Hartwick Pines State Park. The new association got its start at an organizational meeting in September followed by the passage of a constitution and by-laws at a meeting in October. Already the club has more than 30 families participating with members coming from Merritt, Evart, McBain, Cadillac, Manton, Houghton Lake, Frederic and Lewiston. The newly organized antique tractor and engine association meets regularly the second Thursday of each month except December and February. Anyone interested in old tractors and/or old engines is cordially invited to attend the meetings which are open to the public.
This unique joint sponsorship came about as a result of cooperative efforts during previously scheduled events. For several years, Hartwick Pines has sponsored “Black Iron Days” and Wellington Farm, USA has held a Tractor and Engine Show the 4th weekend of August. In past years both parks have cooperated in the promotion of these events resulting in an increased number of tourists attracted to the Crawford County area. For the 2009 season, that step was carried one step further when the two parks shared equipment and personnel to assure the success of the weekend. Currently, staff members of both facilities are involved in cooperative planning for the 2010 season and it is anticipated that additional joint promotions will be accomplished in the future.
Crawford County is certainly established in a very unique position as the very heart of Michigan’s tourist destination area in more ways than one. First of all, it is at the convergence of three of the state’s major highways; US-127, I-75 and M-72. Secondly, it has the headwaters of not one but two of Michigan’s major rivers within its boundaries; the AuSable and the Manistee. Thirdly, it is the home of three of Michigan’s major historic attractions; Hartwick Pines State Park, Wellington Farm, USA and the CCC Museum. These three significant historic attractions coupled with the efficient highway system and the attraction of the two rivers could result in the Grayling area becoming one of Michigan’s prime tourist attractions in coming years.