Chemical Fire Engine No. 1


When I visited the Carter House, this lovely piece of machinery was parked out front.

“Cool! So… has it always belonged to Summit?” I asked the fire volunteer standing beside it.

“Yes, ever since it was built in 1927,” he answered.

“No buying it from some other town and saying ‘Hey, it’s ours now’ or something?”

“Nope! Ours from the start.”

“Cool,” I said.

“Yeah,” he said. “It’s actually been housed in our own fire house since 1927. We’re trying to get it permanently moved over here, to the Carter House, because space is getting kind of tight in the fire house.”

“Ouch, I can imagine,” I replied. “This must take up a lot of valuable room!”

“It’s actually a lot smaller than a modern fire engine,” he said, “but… as you can see, it’s still not exactly tiny!”

“No,” I said.

“People just kind of hang their wet coats on it,” he continued, “like the exercise bicycle in your room that you never use.”

I laughed. “So aside from being a coat rack, nowadays it’s just used for, what, parades and stuff?”

“Well,” he said, “not now. Right now it doesn’t run.”

“Oh. So… you had to tow it here for today?”

“Yeah, we had to have it towed,” he said. “But we’ve got guys working hard on it, trying to get it to run again. Then hopefully we’ll be able to store it over here and take it out for… parades and stuff.”

“Cool,” I said. “Um… may I take a picture?”


(The conversation above has been paraphrased as closely to truth as memory will allow, and factually confirmed by an article by S. Duetsch and J. Gasso in the Autumn 2011 edition of the Historian, the Newsletter of the Summit Historical Society. Errors are possible, though.)

3 Responses to “Chemical Fire Engine No. 1”

  1. I love it! I like the vehicle, and your picture of it, but I really dig the fact that you had that conversation. And then posted it here! 🙂

    • Rarely are my conversations so quotable. And honestly, this is barely quotable. Look at how awkward I was. Hmph.

      But yeah, I am trying to not be *quite* so creepy when I take photos. If there are a few people around, and I have a legitimate reason to take a photo, I try to extract a little information from them.

      Doesn’t always work. But the effort is ongoing.


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