Those displays were made available to the public several years ago when the Plainsman Museum in Aurora devoted space inside the Wesley Huenefeld Agricultural Museum to the collection in a fitting setting, next to "real life" tractors used in the county many long years ago.
Along the north wall of the building rest two display cases featuring various tractors, cars, implements and other toys from the collection of Marian and Thelma Salmon and Willis and Doris Akerson.
In Salmon’s collection, there are 100 tractors, 99 implements and 18 other various pieces.
The Akerson collection features 201 toy tractors, model die-cast cars and John Deere lawn and garden equipment.
Megan Sharp, director of the Plainsman Museum, said having all of those toys and John Deere clothing together in one place is really neat.
"The kids really love this when they come here," she said. "But the adults really enjoy it too."
"It’s like they are automatically drawn to it," she added. "It’s neat for them to see things like miniature plows. It really draws the people in."
Sharp said the collection is significant because is showcases a person’s passion for something.
"It shows off something they really took a big interest in," she said. "And now that interest is shared with everyone and it’s really neat."
Nancy (Salmon) Lohrmeyer of Aurora was the youngest of seven children in the Marian Salmon family. She said it was very interesting to grow up with her father’s tractor collection.
"He would only buy John Deere models and toys," she said. "We lived on a farm and it’s what he farmed with."
"I thought it was kind of cool to have a dad interested in toys," she added.
Toys that were off limits except for once each year when the kids "sort of" got to play with them.
"Dad had them stored up on shelves all along the living room walls and once a year we would take them down to help clean them," she said. "We had to be very careful with them."
Lohrmeyer said her son, Alex, also got to experience the tractors first hand when he came to the museum for a Boy Scout community service project and he helped clean the toys and the exhibit.
She said her father always liked history.
"Our grandparents homesteaded land in Hamilton County near the Blue River," she said. "My father grew up during the 30s."
"Money was always tight," she added. "But it was fun watching him collect his tractors. I enjoyed watching him and I think we all did. It was the one thing he enjoyed spending money on. He really enjoyed buying his toys and it made him so happy."
She said her father never had a duplicate toy and always knew what he had in the collection.
When her parents moved into town in 1981, Lohrmeyer said they built shelves in the basement along the south, west and east walls to house the tractor collection.
"Those cases were covered on the inside with green felt, for John Deere of course," she said. "They were full of tractors and John Deere toys and it was a lot of fun to see."
She said she thinks it’s great the group of John Deere collectibles is now featured inside the Plainsman Museum.
"It’s a more manageable way for people to look at them," she said. "They can see them and be like, ‘I remember my dad had one of those.’"
"They can also see the progression of John Deere ag equipment," she added. "I think he wanted to contribute these for others to enjoy because of his love for history and it was something people could remember him by. There was a very brief discussion about each one of the kids keeping one piece of the collection, but we knew he would want the entire collection to stay together and we decided that was the best thing to do."