L&A Mutual enlists the help of a crane to place a tractor atop their new building

Napanee Crane air lifts a 1951 Minneapolis-Moline tractor onto the roof of L&A Mutual Insurance's new building on 76 East Street. Photo by Adam Prudhomme.

Adam Prudhomme

Keeping with their farm rustic theme, L&A Mutual Insurance Company has placed a real 1951 Minneapolis-Moline tractor atop the roof of their soon-to-be new location at 76 East Street.

Now settled into its new home, the tractor can be seen from across the Napanee River from the riverfront trail.

Getting it up there was no small feat, as L&A Mutual manager Mike Salmon enlisted the help of Napanee Crane to lift the classic machine onto the roof.

Napanee Crane air lifts a 1951 Minneapolis-Moline tractor onto the roof of L&A Mutual Insurance’s new building on 76 East Street. Photo by Adam Prudhomme.

The tractor was purchased from a farm in Stirling. On. and then transported to Napanee to serve as a focal point of L&A Mutual’s agricultural theme, a nod to both the company’s history and the building’s former use as the Country Depot.

“L&A Mutual was a farm mutual, that’s how we got started,” said Salmon. “For us the tractor is a symbol of hard work, durability and resilience. Those are the words we think of when we look at a tractor and we understand under the circumstances our communities are being severely tested on those very things.”

Prairie Gold was the signature colour of the Minneapolis- Moline. Photo by Adam Prudhomme.

Wanting to be an authentic as possible, Salmon enlisted Napanee’s Ron Clancy to restore the tractor, right down to the signature Prairie Gold coat of paint, a trademark of the Minneapolis-Moline.

Getting the tractor on the roof took a bit of creative engineering. Adding to the challenge was the fact the road is currently being resurfaced by Morven Construction. Fortunately it all went on without a hitch last Tuesday morning. The whole process was documented from several angles, including from above through the use of a drone.

“Napanee Crane came in, no problem and lifted it,” said Salmon. “The good creative part came from a guy named Hal Rogers. He developed a saddle that bolted to the tractor that allowed it to just sit almost like you’re getting on a horse and just sit in place. It wasn’t really the weight, it wasn’t the crane ability, it was how we were going to sit it on that support post.”

Though the tractor is real, there’s no risk of someone taking it for a joy ride. Not only is it attached to the roof, it’s also missing some vital parts to make it just a little bit lighter.

The tractor is just another eye-catching feature of the building’s transformation. Last September the town was a buzz when local artist Shane Goudreau was commissioned to transform the building’s former silos into a stunning farm scene. At the centre of the design is a farmer that has been dubbed Annie.

The farmer that looms over downtown Napanee has been dubbed Annie. Photo by Adam Prudhomme.

Goudreau is expected to return later this autumn to add the finishing touches to his artwork.

Staff at L&A Mutual has already begun their move from their mill Street location to their new office. The plan is to have the building open for tours in September to view the final product.

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