Tag Archives: Ashton Iowa

Finding Passion in Siouxland, Ashton

22 Apr

A couple of years ago or so  I ran across a gentleman in the small Siouxland community of Ashton who was pursuing his love and passion of collecting and restoring older farm tractors. Maybe passion is a strong word to use, but Lloyd Baker, who previously worked for a local tractor dealer for a number of years, had a number of tractors sitting around his garage in the small community waiting for some individual attention.

Lloyd Baker laughs a little as he talks about collecting and refurbishing tractors, especially John Deere tractors, almost his entire life, and keeps an ongoing changing collection in Ashton, Iowa, March 29, 2015. (photo by Jerry Mennenga©)


Lloyd Baker currently has a collection of 52 tractors he is planning on refurburshing sitting around his workplace in Ashton, Iowa, March 29, 2015. He works on different tractor models of different brands, but especially likes John Deere tractors. (photo by Jerry Mennenga©)

He said he enjoys getting the older agricultural workhorses running again and doesn’t discriminate against make or model. I saw him recently participating in a tractor pull at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta. Pulling the sled with ease with his John Deere Tractor.

Lloyd Baker of Ashton, Iowa participates in a tractor pull for “antique” tractors at the Grand Meadow Heritage Festival near Washta, Iowa Saturday Sept. 9, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It’s always nice to meet people who enjoy a hobby and doesn’t mind spending time trying to get things right. Restoring older tractors can be a challenge to either find existing parts or making them yourself to get the machinery functioning again.

Part of Lloyd Baker’s collection of tractors he plans on refurbishing is an Economy, circa late 1930’s, made by Sears & Roebuck Co. that he acquired. Baker said the tractor was shipped to the buyer and then required assembly, seen at his work place in Ashton, Iowa, March 29, 2015. (photo by Jerry Mennenga©)

And then to participate in friendly competitions with other collectors and restorers to see whose tractor performs best is just a throw back to those county fair competitions I remember as a child, hearing the grandstand roar as the favorite does well. With winter seemingly finally coming to an end with a recent late snow storm, I hope to drive some more back roads and find other people pursuing their passion or maybe just enjoying their “retirement” in a way that makes them happy.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Exploring Small Communities in Siouxland, Ashton

13 Dec

In early November I was visiting a small community in Siouxland to photograph and film adult servers at the local Catholic church in Ashton, Iowa. I arrived early and drove around the town. Ashton is small, with a population of a little over 400 people. Originally known as St. Gilman, the town was laid out in 1872. The town later was renamed in 1882 after May Ashton, a daughter of a railroad man who traveled in the area. It was incorporated in 1885. The small community is feeling the effects of older residents and fewer young people, and church is needing to rely on adults to help with services as there are too few children to serve.

The day I visited the downtown streets were red in color, owing to the chaff of corn being unloaded at the local grain elevator, with harvest well underway, and hearing completion in this part of Iowa. And the grain elevator is one of the main business ventures in the community. November still had sunny skies and warm weather to greet a visitor. The elevator like a lot of smaller rural communities seemed to be a major business entity in the community. A small museum which was closed paid homage to the town’s past, and a number of well kept houses gives testament to the those that live there still calling the community home.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa


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