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Antique tractors find new home in office

Published: Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013 11:32 a.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013 11:54 a.m. CST
(Dave Hon/Daily News)
Bill Zegers, who restored the tractors that found a new home in the lobby of Iowa Family Farms, helps put parts back on the tractor once it was in the new Iowa Family Farms office.
(Dave Hon/Daily News)
Employees of Iowa Family Farms move the body of an antique John Deere tractor through a 38 inch door. They had to remove the wheels and axles, but even after that it wouldn't fit, so they removed more parts from it.

Two John Deere tractors in an office lobby make an interesting conversation starter.

Denny Gardner recently moved his family farm business office. The only problem he had with the space was the large lobby. So he put two antique tractors in the lobby. Getting the tractors into the lobby, which was once used for cubicles, was no easy task.

“I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for these antique tractors,” Gardner said.

The largest door into the building is 38 inches, which meant that a team of people had to take apart the tractors to fit them through the door. The process took nearly six hours as Iowa Family Farms employees took apart the tractors, removing the wheels, axles, seat and back cover, and brought them into the building one by one.

The bodies of the tractors were wheeled in on a special cart designed by Bill Zegers, who restored the tractors as well.

One tractor is a 1937 Model A, and the other is a 1941 Model B. Gardner said he was partial to the 1937 Model A because of the open steering and radiator.

“Friday night, I went to bed and could not sleep. All I could think about was how we were gonna get that in there,” Zegers said. “By morning, I knew exactly how I was going to build it.”

A good friend of his welded the cart together that held the body of the tractor, which the team used to wheel the body into the office with. On the second go around, they had to remove more parts to get the body to fit through the door.

“I like challenges,” Zegers said. “Life is full of challenges.”

Zegers also said he’s restored many tractors over the years and that it requires a lot of time and patience. Zegers grew up on a farm, but his father used a Farmall. However, he plowed with one of the John Deeres that now sits in the Iowa Family Farm’s office. The tractors have also been in a few parades.  

“When I put my mind to something, I get it done,” Zegers said. “One way or another.”

Zegers sold the tractors to Gardner, and he decided they would fill the space in the lobby. Gardner said he doesn’t plan on turning them on, but he said he plans to play a recording of the unique sound the tractors make.

“It was a big job,” Gardner said. “(Zegers) was the guy in town. It’s kind of his specialty.”

Gardner’s family has been farming in Jasper County for five generations. He said both of his children are planning on working for Iowa Family Farms to continue the legacy.

Staff writer Dave Hon may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 425, or at dhon@newtondailynews.com.