The Messenger’s archives tell of fire engine sold for junk

Published 2:30 pm Tuesday, January 16, 2024

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Dianne Smith

Dianne Smith

The old fire engine, the hope and pride of Troy for a long number of years, has been relegated to the junk heap.  It was sold to a junk dealer this week and has been shipped to Montgomery, or some other point from there, where it will be dismembers and battered up for the metal out of which it is made.

The old fire engine was purchased by the city at a cost of approximately two thousand dollars some thirty-five years ago.  It was received here with a great ovation upon the part of the populace.  Its shining nickel and brass, its shrill whistle, its ominous gong were things of constant admiration upon the part of the people.   And when it was called out for duty, either for practice or in case of fire, great throngs watched the smoke pour forth from the nickeled stack and heard the rapid puffs of the exhaust, while it pumped water by the thousands of gallons from two big cisterns built beneath court square.  Uniformed and helmeted firemen, proud volunteers, attended the engine, or manned the ladder or hose.  Palmy old days, those, and to be a volunteer fireman was to be a hero!  Thus things continued for fourteen years.

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And then came the new water system, with water mains on the streets and hose plugs at every corner.  Hose reels, and afterwards hose wagons, drawn by horses, supplanted the engine, and the engine which had been the unrivaled pride of Troy for a long time, was stored away in a back room at the department.  From time to time some miscreant slipped stealthily in and took from the old engine a piece of brass or other metal to sell to some junk dealer.  And thus, during the twenty-one years which it had been discarded, the engine dropped further into deterioration.  It had for the past few years been considered junk, but saved for its former glory.

A few days ago a junk dealer bargained with the city, and in exchange for about forty dollars, the engine passed out of the city’s possession.

Dianne Smith is the President of the Pike County Historical, Genealogical and Preservation Society.