Once in a lifetime, if you’re very lucky, you meet someone so unique, so full of life, and so creative that you are left in total awe. Fred Webster of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom is one of those individuals. He is a jolly guy who works hard and thoroughly enjoys what he is doing. He is a retired Vocational Agriculture Teacher who tells great stories about his life, his vocation, his vision and farm history. No one tells them better.
At 93 years old Fred continues to focus on his dream which is to have an information center that shows the progression of farm equipment as it evolved. He has more than 1,500 pieces of farm equipment and other machinery from the past.
He stores his collection in buildings which he started to put up when he turned 65. They were built from old barns that farmers were going to tear down. He has 80,000 square feet of storage space and 300 acres of land to store his treasures.
When Fred was 88 he decided he wanted to start building stage coaches — so he did. He also started collecting other forms of transportation.
OTHER MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION
AND MY PERSONAL FAVORITE …. PICTURE THE MEDICINE MAN STANDING ON THE PLATFORM OF THIS WAGON PITCHING HIS MAGIC CURE ALL POTION TO THE FOLKS….
It would seem preserving the history and evolution of farming lies in Fred Webster’s hands. Fred and his son, Daniel, have tagged and videotaped every one of the over 1500 items and it’s likely they have the largest collection of farm tools in New England.
Things were not always easy for Fred. He had eight children which he raised by himself after his wife left him. It was a very difficult time for him, but he managed and learned a lesson that we all should embrace: “Don’t rise above pain, let it be part of your life, let it be part of who you are.”
At age 68 Fred was blessed when he met Vivian at a square dance, they fell in love and married less than a year later.
Once upon a time Fred was called “Crazy Fred”! No one calls him that anymore. Today Fred is famous! It’s no surprise that the American Pickers came to visit and if you ever find yourself in the Northeast Kingdom you too may be fortunate enough to meet the one and only amazing Fred Webster — a man with a vision.
The American Pickers’ episode “Backroads Barnstorming” will be aired on the History channel September 26 at 8 PM CST.
Thank you Courtney Mead for arranging for us to meet Fred. It was a wonderful experience. (Photos by Heidi Schmidt and Bill Toninato)