Ely Stage Shop & Country Museum's Fitch Model D 20-35 #1337
This Fitch Four Drive Model 20-35 will be on display at The Ely Stage Stop & Country Museum (ESSCM) in Kelseyville, CA, about 100 miles northeast of Sacramento, near the shores of Clear Lake.
The tractor has been in the possession of the Lake County Historical Society since about 1993. It had been on display at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Lakeport in the "Ye Old Museum" for many years. For the past 4 years, it has been stored in a barn at a farm west of Lakeport until it can be housed at the museum. They are hoping to put it on public display in Summer 2013, possibly by August. It is about 90% complete and a solid candidate for restoration. The operators seating area has no floorboard as the wooden floor has either been rotted away or removed so there is no seat or seat mounting bracket. Also, some of the sheet metal has been damaged. The frame has been painted yellow at some point after purchase. The goal is to first get the motor to start and then long term goal is to fully restore the tractor. The serial number of the tractor is #1337 and the engine is a Climax KU serial number 1751.
Owned by the Lake County and operated by the Lake County Historical Society, the Ely Stage Stop & Country Museum was opened to the public for the first time in July 2011. Located at 9921 Highway 281 (Soda Bay Road) between Kelseyville and Lower Lake, the Stage Shop and Museum are on the a five-acre parcel that was the former S-Bar-S Ranch.
The vision for the ESSCM includes the restored stage stop featuring displays and museum information. Barns are being raised to house historical farming implements and equipment, as well as a working blacksmith shop. The intent is to save and display artifacts too large and numerous for the Historic Courthouse Museum and the Lower Lake Historic Schoolhouse Museum to handle. The Mission of the ESSCM is to provide tourists, educators, families and residents an insight into our fascinating past through its permanent and temporary exhibits. In keeping with the museum’s mission, the ESSCM welcomed a Science and Museum Camp put on by the Lake County Children’s Museum of Art and Science in May 2012 and 2013. During the camp, Greg Dills, Museum Chairman, gave a brief history lesson and demonstration of a rare piece of farm machinery to schoolchildren.
One of the many showpieces for the museum will be this Fitch Four Wheel Drive Tractor. As ESSCM barns are completed, artifacts currently stored throughout the county will come to the museum for display and demonstration. Complementing the antique tractors, engines, and artifacts, will be many antique wagons and a stagecoach.