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Monday, October 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Antique gas and steam engines at fair kept in good condition, for a purpose

Hugh Grim, left, a longtime hobbyist who restores old farm windmills, chats with Spokane County Interstate Fair visitor David Haraway, right, under an antique windmill that was pumping water Friday, Sept. 6, 2019 at the fair. Grim’s windmills are usually displayed near the antique gas and steam engines on the south side of the fairgrounds. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Hugh Grim, left, a longtime hobbyist who restores old farm windmills, chats with Spokane County Interstate Fair visitor David Haraway, right, under an antique windmill that was pumping water Friday, Sept. 6, 2019 at the fair. Grim’s windmills are usually displayed near the antique gas and steam engines on the south side of the fairgrounds. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Long before the gates opened Friday morning at the Spokane County Interstate Fair, there were plenty of attractions.

In the Steam and Gas area near the south entrance, Hugh Grim tended to his windmill. Twenty feet away, Jim Lunneborg fiddled with a tiny 97-year-old engine.

Many decades ago, both were standard equipment on nearly every farm and ranch in Eastern Washington. They drew water and powered the machinery that helped feed the region.

Now they’re consigned to the fringes of an event they helped to create. After the gates opened, most fairgoers ambled past the machines and toward the cotton candy sellers in the middle of the fairgrounds.