Town Times Requester




Farm Museum receives vintage John Deere

The Durham Fair has an amazing Farm Museum with a vast collection of antique farm equipment and collectibles that will transport you back in time. Our collection is priceless and we are grateful for all the generosity of donations we have received so that we can showcase Connecticut agriculture history.

The Durham Fair was recently gifted with a vintage John Deere tractor from a long time supporter, Henry Sagan, who passed away in March of this year, at age 89. Sagan was a lifelong resident of Middletown, a World War II veteran and an avid agriculturalist. In his youth, his family owned chickens and cows, and he even sought a degree in chicken raising during his college career at the University of Connecticut, before eventually becoming a tool designer at Pratt and Whitney Aircraft.

In the late 1970s through 2000, Sagan raised Christmas trees and was a member of the CT Christmas Tree Growers Association, which has sponsored tree exhibits at the Durham fair for a number of years. Tagging and cutting your own trees at Sagan’s Christmas Tree Farm was a favorite tradition for many families for more than 25 years, and he even was recognized by the Mayor of Middletown, who designated Dec. 19, 2003 as Henry Sagan Day, for his contributions to the town.

Throughout his life he also indulged his passion for raising gladiolas, which he inherited from his mother. He was a member of the CT Gladiolas Society and faithfully exhibited his beautiful flowers in their annual flower shows and, of course, at the Durham Fair for many years. At its peak, Sagan grew almost 3,000 gladiolas a year, and sold them to local florists and at his own roadside stand off of Randolph Road, as well as gifting them to family and friends.

He owned and enjoyed tinkering with his numerous tractors and implements including Cub Cadet, Farmall, Kubota and John Deere. He often visited the Farm Museum at the fair and intended to donate his vintage John Deere GP tractor to the museum one day, but never finalized his plans prior to his passing. His daughter, Karen Young; son, Allen Sagan, and their families wished to fulfill his wishes and have donated this antique tractor to the fair for future generations to enjoy. We are grateful for their donation and look forward to restoring it to its previous glory.

--Submitted by Debbie Huscher

Marketing Coordinator, Durham Fair

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