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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Restoring a piece of the past

Monday, February 4, 2013

From time to time, when the Little Sioux River is down, something from the past that was long forgotten emerges.

In recent years, for example, bison bones found along the shores of the river. But how about a pedal car or, in this case, a pedal airplane?

Aaron Jaminet of Reinert Machine Shop in Cherokee is pictured next to a 1941 Silver Pursuit Pedal Plane which was found in a sand bar in the Little Sioux River. The person who found the plane, Sheryl Kruse, had the machine shop do some restoration work to the toy plane. Photo contributed
That is just what happened to Sheryl Kruse, who lives just north of Cherokee. Back in 2011 ,Kruse was walking along a sand bar just south of Stoner's Bridge near her home in Cherokee Township. At that time, the river was as low as Kruse could recall, and it has since become much lower.

Kruse describes the finding. "I like to walk the river when it's low, maybe to find some old bones or something," she said. That is when she came across a nose of the plane, or at the time she was thinking it was perhaps an old hubcap buried in the wet sand.

So she dug around it and the plane started to emerge from the sand. Kruse then took the plane home and began doing some research on the internet and found out it was a 1941 Silver Pursuit Pedal Plane, made by the Murray Company of Ohio.

Kruse come to that conclusion by the colors still visible on the plane. The pedal plane was not in the best of shape, however. One wing was missing , and the plane no longer had tires, pedals or a steering-wheel.

Sheryl Kruse of rural Cherokee recently had this 1941 Silver Pursuit Plane, which she found within a sand bar in the Little Sioux River near her home, completely restored to its former glory. Photo contributed
"I always look 200 to 400 yards on the south side of a bridge. That's where you find things. That's where people end up throwing things off the bridges and where they end up settling," said Kruse.

It was at this point Kruse thought it would be fun to restore the plane. She took the plane to Reinert Machine Shop in Cherokee to get the plane straightened out and to get a replacement wing for it. They also added a set of lawnmower wheels to the plane. Kruse stated that she looked everywhere for replica or period wheels, but was unable to locate any. Reinerts also got the pedals and steering wheel repaired and the plane's propeller working again.

Kruse then took the plane to Dave's Commercial Painting, and owner Dave Elliott did the bodywork restoration.

Now that the plane was completely restored, Kruse ordered replica stickers off the internet. "It was an act of love that these guys put it all together and it came out absolutely beautiful," said Kruse. She also stated that the restoration took about a year, due to the fact that she spent some time looking for as many original parts as she could find.

The plane now has a place within her home as well as a place in her heart.

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