Note: This column is in the Feb. TT&C 2020 issue.
Berger’s Sanitation Service is headquartered in a nondescript metal building on the outskirts of Dickinson, N.D., where other businesses have burst forth and gone bust as they cycle through the Bakken oil boom. Inside, owner Russ Berger first introduces the two cats strolling around the business. But they are not the main attraction. Visitors are immediately drawn to the hundreds of models of both construction equipment and farm toys lining the walls of the business.
One shelf high overhead follows the perimeter of the inside walls of the business, lined with models carefully grouped for display. And inside three offices, models are displayed on more shelves, with farm toys overflowing inside one office, and construction equipment, racing-related models and trucks filling shelves and brimming over onto the floor of another office. And at Russ’ house, Caterpillar equipment and heavy haul models are neatly displayed throughout the home’s basement.
From one office shelf, Russ reaches for a worn Structo dump truck, positioned next to two farm tractors that Russ received from his father before his father’s death—a Massey-Harris 333 and a John Deere 630. The juxtaposition of these models is reminiscent of the entire collection, although the collection now leans more toward construction and heavy equipment models.