NOTE: Read the March 2014 issue of Hemming's Classic Car for a story about our fire truck.
NOTE: This story was posted in 2013
The Prescott Antique Auto Club acquired their 1931 Seagrave Ladder Truck from the City of Prescott Fire Department in 1984. Prescott Fire Department had purchased the ladder truck new in 1931. It was designated Ladder Truck #1. The photo below was taken by the Seagrave Company just before they shipped the truck to Prescott. The truck was in service with the Prescott Fire Department until 1984, when it was sold to PAAC for $1.00.
Ladder Truck #1 was stored at club member's yards and in a building at the former Yavapai County Fair Grounds (now the Prescott Rodeo Grounds) before being moved to the PAAC clubhouse in November 2006. One of the reasons PAAC wanted their own clubhouse was to have a place to permanently store Ladder Truck #1 inside a building and to have a place to restore the truck.
Restoration of the truck included work on the original wooden ladders, the dismantling of the truck to prepare it to be repainted and repaired. The engine, and other pieces of equipment have been returned to working order. The pump still needs work. The truck now looks brand new and has been driven in the 2012 Independence Day Parade, was shown at the 2012 Watson Lake Show, was in the 2012 Christmas Parade, and the 2012 Fiesta Bowl Parade. The truck always gets a positive response when it is shown in public. You can see some recent pictures below.
Bringing Ladder Truck #1 To It's New Home
Story by Janet
November 9, 2006, was the exciting big day for bringing Ladder Truck #1 to its new home at the PAAC Building at 823 Osburn Street and a day for a bunch of middle-agers to act like teenagers. I was lucky enough to be able to participate in all the fun I walked around the corner of the PAAC building just as someone said “We need a camera”. I just happened to have a camera and that was the beginning of the fun. Six of us (Bob, Ed, Jim, Pat, Rich, and myself) and Perky, of course, loaded ourselves onto Rich’s truck for the short drive from the PAAC building to Building B on the rodeo grounds. Bob, Ed, Jim and I were sitting on the tailgate, and Pat, Perky, and Rich were in the front seat We had a few jugs of water, a can of gas, and lots of enthusiasm. To start off, there were stories and lots of smiles. Then came getting Ladder Truck #1 ready for the move.
Work started with checking the engine, and putting in gas and water. Since we only had 4 gallons of water on hand, the hunt was on for a faucet at the rodeo grounds that actually worked. Pat, Ed, and I finally found one at the east end of Building B. As we filled the jugs, I noticed a couple of people come out of the main building looking like they were going to tell us we couldn't get water there, but changed their minds once they decided we were not indigents.
Some people were better at pouring water in the radiator and others better at pouring it on the ground. Once the radiator was filled and there was some gas in the tank, Rich took the wheel, started her up, and everyone hopped on for the ride. Jim and Rich were on the seat. Pat and Perky were sitting on the driver’s side running board. Bob and Ed were on the running boards in front of the ladders. After one last photo, I hopped on by the water tank. I discovered at the first lurch as #1 started to roll that I was going to have to hang onto the water tank cap to keep from falling off since the truck hadn't moved for awhile and was in lurching mode, and also during some questionable gear shifting and on corners.
Rich decided to take the scenic route back to the PAAC building and pulled out on Gail Gardener Way and turned right on Fair Street. At Fair and Miller Valley, Rich turned left, so we could entertain all the people at the light, and so we could go to the Fry's gas pumps and fill up the truck I saw lots of smiling people in cars as they watched us go by. Some really gutsy or stupid guy in a pickup cut in front of us at the pumps. I mean here's this 40 foot long huge fire truck that could have crumpled the pickup into scrap and that guy cut us off!! Rich was polite and didn't rearrange the guy's truck. Luckily the gas tank is near the front of #1 so we were still able to reach a pump and gas up. It was at this point I ran out of film!! I borrowed $10 from Pat and ran into Fry's to buy more film.
As I came out the front doors of Fry's, the guys and #1 were pulling up in front. I told the surprised but laughing lady with her groceries and the Fry's greeter I was getting curb service and hopped on #1. Rich proceeded to lean on the siren and looking like something out of a Keystone Cops movie, we were off, all laughing and having a great time. The people at Fry's were all smiles and looked like they would like to join us.
At the Valley Street entrance to Fry's, Rich turned right, so we went up to Miller Valley School and then back south on Miller Valley Road, where we got stopped at the light. As #1 idled waiting for the light to change and with all of us, including Perky, hanging off the truck breaking who knows how many rules, a police car came east to west through the intersection. The two policemen looked us over and I saw the turn signal come on and them turning into Fry's. At this point Bob, Ed, and I decided if we got pulled over, it was every person for themselves, and we figured at least 4 of us and Perky could probably escaped before the police could get out of their car I had a great mental image of all of us running in different directions, dodging cars, climbing fences, and laughing all the way back to the PAAC building while Rich tried to explain to the cops that we were doing nothing illegal. I wondered if it was in the PAAC budget to bail members out of jail, but really didn't care because I was having too much fun!
When the light changed, we quickly went to Osburn and turned in, (which seemed to be a good way to shake the cops), wound our way behind the buildings, thru the creek, and sounding the siren, pulled into the PAAC parking lot. Fortunately, we were not being followed by a police car. We were like a bunch of teenagers out for a joy ride, eluding the cops, and just plain having fun.
Those who had stayed at the PAAC building and missed the fun came out to check over the truck and listened to our stories. Later, to cheers, Bob backed Ladder Truck #1 into its new permanent home.
Once parked, everyone found places to sit on the running board or on chairs, and we all sat around talking. The atmosphere was one of friendship and relaxation, and it was the most wonderful place in the world to be. You could tell Ladder Truck #1 was glad to be in its new home, and surrounded by a bunch of crazy people.
First Parade Appearance
A large effort was made in 2012 to bring the restoration of Ladder Truck #1 to a level that was parade worthy. This was accomplished in time for the 2012 Independence Day Parade. The restored Ladder Truck #1 was awarded first prize.
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