Brooks Things to Do

  • Vintage Automobiles and a Locomotive on Display
    Vintage Automobiles and a Locomotive on...
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  • Trolley Rides are Usually Available at Powerland
    Trolley Rides are Usually Available at...
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  • Historic Caterpillar Museum is Part of Complex
    Historic Caterpillar Museum is Part of...
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Most Recent Things to Do in Brooks

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    Robinson & Hines Blacksmiths Display at Powerland

    by glabah Written Aug 7, 2012
    Blacksmith Shop on Antique Powerland grounds
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    Antique Powerland is equipped with a Blacksmith Shop, and this was one of the earliest of demonstration facilities established at Powerland. The fact is, the fabrication of metal parts is a pretty important part of farm operation, antique machinery (for many of the early machinery parts came from such a facility as this) and many of the other parts vital to what is shown at Powerland has its basis in the operation of a good blacksmith shop.

    The shop is not operated on a regular basis, and therefore it is a good idea to check the schedule to see if there is anyone that will be demonstrating blacksmith shop skills here before you make a special trip to see it.

    However, I can tell you that along with all the other parts of Antique Powerland, the Blacksmith Shop is one of the hubs of activity during the annual Steamup event in late July and early August. So, if no other time is for certain, the blacksmith shop will be operating on those days.

    The people who volunteer at this blacksmith shop are usually members of the Northwest Blacksmith Association, and their web site is the one placed below.

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    Great Oregon Steam-up

    by glabah Updated Aug 1, 2012

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    Small steam engines being used to make ice cream
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    Every year, on the last weekend in July and the first weekend in August, the Antique Powerland museum association hosts the Great Oregon Steam-up. This event features a large number of OPERATING antique machines. This includes:

    + Operating steam engines of various sizes (and thus the name "Steamup") including steam tractors, model steam engines, and some stationary examples. See the small steam engines being used to drive ice cream making aparatus in the main photo of this tip.

    + Historic fire equipment (see photo 2)

    + a steam powered railroad crane that works and lifts objects as a demonstration. See photo 4, and a couple of the videos I have, plus dozens and dozens of other videos by various others available on YouTube.

    + an operating streetcar line that currently circles about 3/4 of the grounds. (see photo 3 - yes, they have also a working wig-wag signal as well over the main road into the museum)

    + Along with the line, a Streetcar Museum (currently located in the Oregon Electric Railway Historical Society car barn, but an actual interpretive center is being built)

    + some creative uses of historic engines including making making bubbles (see photo 5). Other antique engines are used as water pumping demonstrations or other things that illustrate how the machines were originally used.

    + antique automobiles including a permanent museum collection

    + an entire truck museum

    + an entire caterpillar museum,

    + the Willow Creek Railroad (1/8th scale railroad you can ride)

    + The Pacific Northwest Logging Museum has slowly increased their presence over the years, and the 2010 show featured a number of new demonstrations by their volunteers. Planning is underway for their museum building on the property.

    + The "Two Cylinder Club", which is an early day gasoline tractor group.

    + Blacksmith shop demonstrations

    + Stationary Gasoline Engine Museum Building

    + Historic Electrical Equipment (this has been a slowly developing series of exhibits since the new structure at the main entrance was constructed).

    + Wheat Threshing and other farm harvesting techniques using the historic farm equipment on hand. This is a modern day descendant of the 1950s and 1960s era "Threshing Bees" that started the whole Annual Steamup event.

    and many other historic machines and equipment, almost all of which operate.

    The northwest corner of the grounds becomes a large swap meet during Steamup, with sales of all manner of things including machinery parts, toys of various types (typically something involving machinery), and various odds and ends of all kinds.

    The first day of the 2007 show had some 10,000 people through the gate, which was a record for attendance for a single day of the steamup, I have been told.

    However, as time has gone on, the prices have increased. The 2008, 2009 and 2010 shows have had the prices increased to pay for such items as a new complex-wide fire hydrant system and other very expensive pieces required as part of growing pains. The 2010 show has ticket entry prices of $10 for adults, with children 12 and under being free of charge. These increased prices have resulted in increased ticket sales revenue, but it also has meant fewer people visiting. Prices have remained the same for the 2012 Steamup.

    All of the photos for this tip are from the 2007 show. They have great gobs of photos on their web site from previous shows as well as from the various museums located on their property. I have also attempted to keep up with some of the changes to the museum complex over the years, and have a few travelogues with ongoing photos, including 2005 and 2006 and 2007 and 2008 and 2010 and 2011.

    While the photos show examples of what is on display, by far the most interesting part of coming to the Great Oregon Steam-up is that a considerable portion of the equipment here is running. Therefore, to really see the Steam-up as it should be viewed, please see some of my Brooks videos, which were all taken during various annual Steamup shows.

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    Oregon Electric Railway Museum

    by glabah Updated Feb 10, 2012

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    Car 503 at Streetcar Museum: built in 1904
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    In 1950, Portland's last streetcar operated (until modern times, that is). In 1958, the electric interurban trains operated their last passenger service. However, several of the old cars were saved.

    Decades ago, the Oregon Electric Railway Historical Society started a museum located in Glenwood, in the scenic and quiet grounds of an old saw mill, just off the highway to the coast.

    1997 was the OERHS last operating year at its facilty in Glenwood, in the coast range. There were many troubles developing there, including a particular series of events where a local resident tried to sell streetcars to other groups that didn't belong to him but actually belonged to the OERHS.

    With Antique Powerland becoming more and more established as a location for historic machinery and vehicles, a decision was made to relocate the entire museum and its equipment, track and other property to that facility in Brooks, Oregon.

    This arrangement has worked out well, and the group is slowly expanding its track to encircle the entire museum complex.

    Inside the nice new car barn, the volunteers are able to restore their streetcars unmolested by outside forces.

    Streetcars do not operate all days, but when there is a sign out in front of Antique Powerland saying "streetcars operating today" that is your public announcement that you can come and ride.

    During much of 2011 the museum group worked on developing their interpretive center - the place that will actually serve as a museum display building for telling people the actual story of the streetcar and interurban electric railway. The building constructed is of a standardized depot design used throughout the Southern Pacific system, including on some of their electrified lines.

    While the group owns some of the last cars from operation in Portland and the Willamette Valley, there were very few survivors of the effort to scrap the entire system. Thus, cars from Portugal, Australia, Hong Kong and San Francisco sleep in the carbarn as well, beside those that operated regularly in Oregon.

    For more photos of their collection of streetcars and interurban railway cars, see the carbarn travelogue with more photos of their equipment (note there are 5 photos here as well if you select the link by the photograph).

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    Antique Powerland Museum

    by glabah Updated Dec 12, 2010

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    Stationary Steam Engine operating at museum show
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    The Antique Powerland Museum is made up of a number of separate museums, located on a 62 acre museum complex.

    Participating organizations include:
    + Western Steam Fiends (including steam operated equipment, such as a steam powered sawmill, a steam powered railroad crane, steam powered staionay equipment and steam powered tractors)
    + Pacific Northwest Truck Museum
    + Oregon Electric Railway Museum (streetcar museum and operation)
    + Antique Caterpillar Machinery Museum
    + Antique Implement Society (farm machinery)
    + Willow Creek Railroad (1/8th scale railroad you can ride)

    and others. This is also the location of the Great Oregon Steam-up, in which many pieces of old equipment are brought to life and somewhere around 10,000 visitors come.

    Antique Powerland got its start in 1952, when a group called the Western Steam Fiends started working on restoring and showing off steam tractors and other steam equipment. The facility has slowly gotten larger and larger, until it reaches today's proportions, and more land is undergoing negotiation for future expansion.

    By far the best time to visit the Antique Powerland grounds is during the Great Oregon Steam-up, as otherwise there isn't anywhere near as much going on. Currently, the grounds are generally open March 3rd through October 31st, Wednesdays through Sundays only. However, just because the grounds are open doesn't guarantee any particular activity level.

    Other special events (such as the truck museum show in late August, or some of the events at the Northwest Vintage Car and Motorcycle Museum) are not quite as large as the Great Oregon Steam-up, but do guarantee there will be at least some level of activity.

    Keep in mind that some of the activities at the museum do require separate admission fees. For example, if you pay for admission to the museum complex, it does not give you free trolley rides - those are separate (unless a sponsoring organization has decided to pay for the rides as part of an event).

    Eventually, the goal is for the museum to have a full compliment of events all year, but currently the activities are highly seasonal and generally rotate around special events at the various member museums.

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    Brooks Historical Society - Depot Museum

    by glabah Updated May 28, 2008

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    Brooks Historical Soceity and Depot Museum
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    Historical artifacts and various other items from the surrounding area are on display in the Brooks Museum, run by the Brook Historical Society. The museum is only open on certain days during certain times of the year.

    Their home is inside the old Brooks train station. This depot was moved from its location next to the Union Pacific railroad to the Antique Powerland group of museums in the 1980s.

    As can be seen from the photos, the station has been restored to its original appearance, including exterior signs and a literature rack from the era. The only non-historic signs are those that identify the station as being the home of the Brooks Historical Society.

    While the station may have been relocated far from the railroad it once served, the trolley line operated by the Oregon Electric Railway Historical Society runs right past the station.

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    Covanta Power Plant Tours

    by glabah Updated Aug 7, 2007

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    Marion County waste to energy plant: easy to find

    Marion County owns the first modern waste to energy plant in Oregon. The plant is operated by Covanta energy.

    The huge stack is the most visible landmark in Brooks. It is visible for quite several miles on the east side of Interstate 5.

    Tours of the power plant are operated, even though security is tight (as it is at most any power plant).

    The link below is a direct link to the parent company which operates the plant and describes a bit about the facility.

    This is the only real tourist attraction (don't laugh: there are tours of the plant) in Brooks other than the Antique Powerland museum complex.

    Call phone number below for tours, according to all the posters you will find around Brooks.

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    Willow Creek Miniature Railroad

    by glabah Updated Aug 6, 2007

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    A ride on the Willow Creek may be a good interlude
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    A certain popular large size of model railroad is 1.5 inches = 1 foot. That is, if something is 12 inches long in real life, it is only 1.5 inches when it is scaled down. The models wind up being 1/8 the size they are in real life.

    This produces models that are small enough to build and work on in your own home, but large enough to ride on, and pull a fair number of people.

    This was the scale chosen for the Willow Creek Railroad, which has quite a lot of track packed into a small space on the grounds of the Antique Powerland in Brooks.

    The railroad is open to the public during the summer months, offering rides to visitors. A ride may be the perfect interlude for those tired of driving the long flat boring section of Interstate 5 between Wilsonville and Salem.

    Check the web site (below) for the timetable of events, as special events may happen from time to time that are of interest.

    During the Great Oregon Steam-up the railroad has quite a lot of activity and some special equipment may visit during this period.

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    Northwest Vintage Car & Motorcycle Museum

    by glabah Updated Aug 5, 2007

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    Car Museum: showing off the works, Steam-up 2007
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    As this is written, the main part of this museum does not yet exst, except as a vast concrete slab. This photo of the vast concrete slab was taken earlier today (Saturday, August 4, 2007) at the museum site on the grounds of Antique Powerland.

    The group responsible for creating this huge slab, which will eventually feature a building and be a museum, has also created a 1920s vintage gasoline station, right next door to their vast concrete slab.

    Behind the replica vintage gasoline station there is a grassy field that is used as both a picnic area and a place to display various historic vehicles.

    These photos were taken during the 2007 Great Oregon Steam-up, so there is quite a lot more activity here in these photos than there normally would be during a normal weekend. However, as time goes on and more and more activity goes on at Antique Powerland, more and more year-long activities will happen here. Besides the steam-up, there are already several other antique automobile events that happen here every year.

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    Antique Caterpillar Machinery Museum

    by glabah Updated Aug 5, 2007

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    Caterpillar Museum: way in back at Powerland
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    Interested in large construction equipment, particularly those made by Caterpillar and its predecessor companies?

    This is a museum for you! See all manner of Caterpillar equipment in all sizes, dating back deep into the history of their company. The museum is particularly active during the Great Oregon Steam-up, as are all the other museums at Powerland.

    On the grounds of Powerland, this museum is located towards the back of the property, along the paved road that runs north-south, bisecting the facility. It is about 3/4 of the way to the 1920s gas station created by the Antique Car & Motorcycle Museum.

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    Pacific Northwest Truck Museum

    by glabah Updated Aug 5, 2007

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    Historic Hearse: another vehicle in Truck Museum
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    In keeping with Antique Powerland's goals of displaying all types of old machinery, the Pacific Northwest Truck Museum displays everything from small very early road machines to huge monsters of the recent past. Quite a lot of their equipment has been donated to them.

    Naturally, Freightliner (long a fixture of Portland manufacturing until the parent company decided to move production to the east coast) features in their museum, but many other manufacturers are represented as well.

    The museum is open weekends only, 10 AM to 4:30 PM, April 1st to Oct 1st. It may be open for special events during the winter season, but generally it is closed after that time.

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    Steam Powered Sawmill

    by glabah Updated Aug 5, 2007

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    Steam engine hidden behind platform to power mill
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    The steam powered sawmill is located in a new and expanded location since the trolley has been routed through the site of the old sawmill. During the steam-up, and other special events, scrap wood is burned in a boiler to make steam. This runs the primary steam engine at the mill, which spins a large saw blande and makes smaller pieces of wood out of larger pieces of wood.

    A second, smaller steam engine is used to run a conveyor that carries the saw dust and wood chips out of the mill and into a large bin.

    The mill is operated by the Western Steam Fiends and runs on an irregular basis during special events. It takes a large crew to operate it safely, and so regular operation is not possible at this time. However, it should be noted that the mill does operate frequently enough to produce much of the wood that can be found around Powerland. Everything from the wooden pieces on some of the streetcars to various building parts have been produced by this mill.

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    Oregon Fire Service Museum, Memorial & Learning

    by glabah Updated Aug 5, 2007

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    Temporary fire service museum home: soon building
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    Similar to the car and motorcycle museum, the Oregon Fire Service Museum, Memorial and Learning Center doesn't yet have a permanent museum building. However, various privately owned and museum owned fire service vehicles have long been a feature of the Oregon Steam-up at Powerland. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that this location was selected as a new home for their museum. For now, their display is only temporary, and happens on a very occasional basis for special events.

    Soon, a fire museum will also grace the grounds of the Powerland museum complex, giving a well deserved home to an important and vital service that is often overlooked, except when needed.

    Along with historic fire fighting equipment, there are sometimes also interesting children's activities which are also educational.

    For reasons that should be obvious, the fire fighting museum is also the host of the national anthem during the annual Powerland steam-up.

    For an additional photo of some historic fire apparatus, see the tips on the Steam-up and Powerland in above tips.

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