At the Keystone Tractor Works Museum in Virginia you’ll find more than 70,000 square feet of gleaming tractors, autos, and trucks. As the name implies, the focus is on tractors but there are enough other vehicles to keep everyone happy. Museum founder Keith Jones bought his first tractor – a 1950 John Deere M – in 1997 from his late uncle’s estate. That’s when he “got the fever”; he’s been buying them ever since.
The coolest tractor in the museum is a 1938 Minneapolis-Moline UDLX. (See the photo at the top of this page.) It boasts a car-like appearance, with an enclosed cab and amenities including a radio, heater, and clock. The slogan was “farm during the day, drive to town at night.” Hard to believe with all that bling it wasn’t a sales success. According to museum assistant Logan, “it was too expensive, and farmers thought you were a wuss if you had a cab on your tractor.” A 1917 International Harvester Titan was left in its original beat-up condition to show what amazing workhorses these were.
Despite the focus on tractors, cars are also well represented. Highlights include a trio of 1955/’56/’57 Ford Thunderbirds and a 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle Custom hot rod.
Because owner Keith Jones is the CEO of trucking firm Abilene Motor Express, trucks are also on display. The 1957 Diamond T “Pig Nose Truck,” so named because the owner wanted more power and added an extra engine to the front, is an odd one. (See below.) A dozen fire trucks and a vintage fire chief’s car tempt even the most stoic visitor to make siren noises.
Kids can sit on a 1959 John Deere 430 Wide for a photo op. The walls are lined with a collection of over 1,800 model trucks. Old-time gas pumps, a moonshining display, and tobacco-farming memorabilia round out the collection.
One of their recent acquisitions is an old car carrier that was found with vintage cars still on it, evidence of a delivery that was never made. They’ve kept it as they found it and display it outside.
Visiting the Keystone Tractor Works Museum in Virginia
Number of vehicles: 200+ (170 tractors, 20+ cars, 25+ trucks)
Highlights: 1917 International Titan 90; 1923 Ford Model T American LaFrance Fire Engine; 1932 Massey Harris GP Tractor, the first with four-wheel drive.
Location: 880 W. Roslyn Road, Colonial Heights, VA 23834. It’s 20 miles south of Richmond and right off I-95 exit 53, just north of Petersburg.
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Phone: (804) 524-0020 Web: www.KeystoneTractorWorks.com