LAPORTE — More than a century of farm equipment manufacturing by Rumely and Allis Chalmers will be showcased during an official grand opening of a museum dedicated to both former pioneers in the industry.
The Rumely Allis Chalmers Heritage Center at the LaPorte County Fairgrounds first opened its doors in April, but more equipment and memorabilia will be on hand for Saturday's ribbon cutting at a facility built with $200,000 in monetary donations.
"There will be tons of items on display," said Paul Rymer, president of the Heritage Center board.
The facility will be open at no charge from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with Fran Jones, a Rumely descendant, cutting the ribbon at 10 a.m.
There will be free coffee, doughnuts and cookies along with other food and beverages from vendors for a fee.
Rymer said many more vintage tractors and pieces of other farm equipment will be on hand for the occasion in addition to the dozen or so implements already on the museum floor. A greater amount of memorabilia, including working parts from within the since cleared manufacturing operation, have also been obtained for viewing.
Flowers and other landscaping work has also been ongoing in recent weeks, Rymer said.
Rumely, beginning in the 1800s, and later Allis Chalmers, after a 1931 buyout, manufactured farm equipment from the same site in the area of Pine Lake and Truesdell avenues until the plant closed in the early 1980s.
One of the major attention getters inside the museum is a large mural of the old Allis Chalmers smokestack. Rymer said the actual 10-story smokestack was made with red bricks, but the huge company name on it was created with letters formed with white ceramic bricks. Some of the bricks in both colors are also on display.
Rymer, who grew up near the factory while it was still operating, said the goal is to add two wings to the museum once enough donations come in to fund the construction. The museum is open the first Saturday of each month at no cost, but there are plans to open it more often at a small fee at some point to help raise funds for growing the museum.