IN 1976, A GROUP of collectors and enthusiasts formed the California Early Days Gas Engine and Tractor Association to celebrate their love of the history behind the early days of farm equipment and life. This pioneering group founded the museum and negotiated the original lease with the County of San Diego to secure the 55 acres of rolling farm ground in North County. Starting with a few old-time engines and equipment pieces, the museum now boasts more than 20,000 items, ranging from a Corliss Steam Engine with a 19,000-pound flywheel to a room dedicated to the preservation of rare manuals and photographs.
From the earliest days, one of the most unique aspects of the museum is its dedication to the continued operation and preservation of early technology. Unique from traditional museums with static displays, the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum’s equipment is maintained in operating condition.
In addition to the working equipment, the museum is also a living history example of early agriculture. Much of the property to this day is still set aside for farming. Dryland crops that were typical to the area around the turn of the century such as wheat and oats are still grown today. Intermittently corn, sorghum or other irrigated crops are cultivated.