This lunacy all started with a simple statement from a fellow employee that went something to the effect of: "You know, I use to rabbit hunt along this canal that had a big old engine in a shed. I wonder if it's still there?"
Things rapidly degenerated from there and several weeks later, Elbert Repp (Mr. Rabbit Hunter), Bill Delcambre (Super Bush Pilot) and yours truly were hacking our way down an over grown road and through underbrush toward a huge fallen down cypress shed. After crawling over several roof rafters, we were greeted by the sights captured below.
What we found is a 200 HP De La Vergne (single cylinder, hot bulb ignition) "FH Oil Engine" manufactured in New York sometime between 1913 and 1917. It was owned by an irrigation company in the first part of the century to fill a canal that flooded rice fields. With the introduction of affordable tractors, rice farmers got tired of paying 1/3 of their crop (going rate at the time) for water and began purchasing tractors so they could pump their own water. By the mid to late 40's (?) most irrigation companies in the area went belly up and this engine was forgotten.
As soon as small details such as ownership are resolved, a "La. Wrecking Crew" will be organized with the goal salvaging and finding a home for this beast.
We hope to have it blowing 30' smoke rings again in the next several years.
If you have any information on this engine or the "De La Vergne Engine
Company, New York", please give me a shout.
Steve Webre <firstname.lastname@example.org>