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Still catching eyes

January 28, 2010
By Deb Gau

TYLER - It's part conversation-starter, part landmark, Richard Vos said.

"It's a conversation piece. There are still people out on the highway who stop and take pictures," said Vos, who lives on a farm just off U.S. Highway 14 on the outskirts of Tyler. But it's not just the farm that passers-by stop to see. It's the tractor on the silo.

The tractor, a 1936 John Deere B, sits on a specially-made platform on top of the silo, overlooking U.S. Highway 14. It's been up there for almost 10 years now, Vos said.

Article Photos

Photo by Deb Gau

A 1936 John Deere Tractor has been mounted on top of an old silo for about 10 years. The silo overlooks U.S. Highway 14 on the east side of Tyler.

"There are a lot of people who know where Tyler is" when you mention the tractor, he said.

Richard Vos said he still remembered the date that a friend with a crane helped them hoist the tractor 40 feet to the top of the silo.

"It was June 9, 2000," he said.

The whole operation took a couple of hours. First, the dome of the silo had to be removed, and then a platform for the tractor put in place on top.

"Instead of a barn raising, we had a tractor-raising party," said Cheryl Vos, Richard's wife. "I remember there were people parked along the road watching."

"There were a lot of people parked on the road," Richard Vos said.

Richard Vos said the tractor had once belonged to a friend, Joe Houselog. Vos said he started out planning to fix the tractor, but when it became clear it would take a long time to put it in working order, he and Cheryl got the idea to put it on top of their unused silo instead.

"When you collect tractors, what do you do with them? You put 'em in a shed, and you see them at parade time," Richard Vos said. "We thought, let's put it on top of the silo for everyone to see."

"We had seen something like it in a magazine article," Cheryl Vos said. At any rate, they thought, it would be something to do with the empty silo besides tear it down.

Even before the "tractor-raising," Cheryl Vos said she had been working on painting the tractor in John Deere green and yellow.

"It must've been a three- or four-day project," she said. She would work mainly at night. "I'd paint one color and wait for the other to dry."

Eventually, she also painted yellow and green checks on the silo for decoration.

About 10 years on, the tractor needs more paint, but is still in good shape, Richard and Cheryl said. The number of people who stop to photograph or comment on the tractor/silo combination has gone down a little over the years, but sometimes you'll still see them.

"We'll see people pull up when we're out feeding (stock)," Cheryl Vos said.



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