Farm Horizons, November 2008

Farmer has fun with tractor sitting atop silo in Grove City

Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

In a moment of whimsy and six days to put it together, Paul Martin, 54, of Grove City had a silo, topped with an antique tractor at his farm along Highway 12.

“I’ve had more fun with this tractor than a barrel of monkeys,” Martin said.

Martin put the spectacle together in 2002. Since then, Martin estimates at least 25 people, and their curious children, have stopped at the farm at 56241 US Highway 12, Grove City, to ask about it and take photographs of it. One Christmas he had the tractor lit with fog lights, and it allegedly caused a traffic accident on the highway. A spectator driving by slowed her vehicle to look at it, and another spectator, who also was looking at the tractor instead of the road, rear-ended the first vehicle, Martin said.

After renting the crop farm for the previous 20 years, Martin finally bought it in 1999, with his brother, Brian. Martin has always had “an itch” to get old tractors, ever since he bought an old Minneapolis Moline tractor from his Dad for $100. Martin bought other old tractors, and got them running again. Then, a friend drove them in parades in the Grove City area, he said.

Martin now is married to Gaye. Before they were married, however, Gaye noticed him staring intently at his silo. “Why are you looking up at the silo?” she asked, probably guessing he was about to hatch some hilarious new scheme.

Martin said his sense of humor often is like a “little kid’s.” He’s surprised Gaye can put up with it. She also was right that he was about to do something funny, he said.

Martin said he looked at the silo, and got a “bug up his *ss,”

First, Martin bought an old tractor from his neighbor, Menno Eby. Eby was mystified why Martin would want it because the tractor had been left out in a pasture. “The motor’s stuck, Paul,” Eby told him.

But Martin was undeterred. He then went to Litchfield and bought a 14.5-foot-diameter lid from a tank. Martin mounted the tractor to the lid and painted it John Deere green.

Next, Martin needed a way to get the tractor to the top of the silo. He called an old schoolmate of his, who lives about three miles from the farm and moves grain bins with a crane.

The schoolmate, Curtis Wendt, thought Martin wanted him to move more grains bins. When he heard what Martin really wanted, he laughed for 10 minutes, Martin said.

“I never know what the *ell you’re up to,” he told Martin.

The two tore the roof off the silo, and the crane lifted the tractor to the top. Martin added a US flag, and his creation became a Grove City area landmark.

People from as far away as South Dakota know about the silo with the tractor on top. A South Dakotan told Martin’s dad about the “crazy” man in Minnesota with the tractor on the silo, and his dad said, “That’s my son.”

With a traffic-stopping landmark like a silo with a tractor on top, it becomes a small world.

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