Quinebaug Valley Engineers Association Inc. (QVEA)
The Quinebaug Valley Engineers Association Inc (QVEA) is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 Connecticut corporation established in 1993 as an organization for individuals interested in the restoration and collection of antique engines, tractors and a variety of 19th and 20th century machinery. To further promote these ideals, QVEA in 2001 initiated the development of a nonprofit educational farm museum located in eastern Connecticut. The museum is at 544 Amston Rd (SR85) in the towns of Colchester and Hebron, on a farm formerly owned by the Zagray family. The Zagray “boys” Stanley, Harry and Willie, were a largely self sufficient and independent family that lived on the property their entire lives. Several patents were applied for, and a couple granted, during their lives. In 2000, Harry, in ill health, granted QVEA a bill of sale for the extensive equipment and tools collected on the farm, as well as a 99-year lease on the property. QVEA members then entered into an ongoing program of restoration and preservation of the Zagray farm, resulting in what you see here today. The farm, which has been known locally as the Zagray Farm, is now known as the Zagray Farm Museum. The ultimate goal is to provide a place where the public can visit and explore the ways people in the late 19th and early 20th centuries conducted life in New England, and the evolution of machinery during a period when hand labor was gradually replaced with mechanical devices. Likewise, the members of QVEA are afforded the opportunity to restore, preserve and operate a vast assortment of antique farm, farm/industrial, and construction-related machinery. Many of these items would otherwise never be accessible or attainable on an individual level, thereby, offering the members of QVEA a unique opportunity to actively participate in their hobby and share it with others. The Zagray Farm Museum encompasses nearly 200 acres of picturesque land, which is a combination of woodlands, fields and a large marsh. There is an abundance of wildlife on the property including turkey, fox, deer and a variety of birds and waterfowl. There are several original buildings which include the Zagray family homestead, dairy barn, machine shop, foundry, antique sawmill and various sheds. The restoration of these original buildings is well underway and nearing completion. Current plans include construction of buildings for housing the many different pieces within the QVEA collection of tractors, engines and machinery. The first of those buildings is an 88x140 antique equipment storage building. As part of the major theme of development, the museum property is to be used to promote the growth of a family oriented, nonprofit educational attraction. The plan is to leave the grounds in an as natural a state as possible. All displays will be made visitor accessible with safety as the top priority. The ultimate goal of the QVEA membership is to develop a true working museum, not just a place of stored displays collecting dust. Being a working museum, the emphasis will be towards demonstrating the operation of all types of equipment in authentic settings. With the addition of a pavilion, picnic tables, benches and walking paths to the various displays, the museum will provide an oasis for families looking for an educational outdoor activity at a minimal cost. It is anticipated the museum will support major demonstration days, shows and year-round activities including ongoing maintenance, improvements, and restoration demonstrations. Club members routinely gather to restore, maintain, demonstrate and operate the equipment. Present club membership consists of approximately 350 members primarily from New England, with the majority of members from Connecticut and Massachusetts. The club holds meetings at the Colchester Town Hall once every month. Meetings are open to all members and are general business meetings where club policy is formulated and implemented. Check the club calendar for date and time. Come and visit us sometime, or perhaps you would like to become a member. Hope to see you down at the farm!