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Monday, April 29, 2013

Tamaqua Fire Truck Comes Home From Florida

Harry Note - These pictures were stolen from Dale Freudenberger's page - the following story is form the Ocala News. I was waiting for a picture from Don Serfass of this truck surrounded by Magnolias :-) 

Old fire truck departs Silver Springs

By Andy Fillmore
Published: Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 8:56 p.m.
SILVER SPRINGS - The old fire truck is finally going home.
The 1922 Seagrave, a pumper that in its prime could provide 750 gallons of water per minute, has been on display at the Silver Springs attraction for more than 20 years.
But now, with the attraction coming under state control, all the park inventory — from animals on down — is being sorted and cleared.
That’s why, on a recent day, several Silver Springs employees watched as the red machine was loaded onto a 53-foot-long specialized hauler for a 1,000-mile, 22-hour trip.
Destination: Tamaqua, Pa.
The fire engine was purchased for $23,000 in 1921 by the Tamaqua Citizens Fire Company No. 1, one of four volunteer fire companies still active in the town of 6,800.
The truck served faithfully until 1959, when it was sold to an Allentown collector and sat in a barn for almost 30 years.
“A husband and wife saw it in a (car collector) magazine and purchased it and transported it to Ocala,” said Dale Freudenberger, president of the Tamaqua Historical Society.
What happened next is unclear, but somehow the truck made its way to Silver Springs in the early 1990s, where it was on display in the antique auto museum once located on the grounds. The truck also served as a photo backdrop for gatherings and weddings.
The state of Florida will take over operation of Silver Springs Nature Park and adjacent Wild Waters effective Oct. 1. The sale of the fire truck is part of preparations for the state takeover, according to Silver Springs director of operations Brent Owens.
“We are shipping things out. The bears, for instance, are going to Colorado. Palace Entertainment (the current operator) and the state didn’t want the fire truck,” he said.
Both Ocala Fire Rescue and Marion County Fire Rescue expressed interest in the 91-year-old truck. But a decision was made to accept the $5,000 offer from the Tamaqua Historical Society, Owens said.
“We’re happy to see the truck go home,” he added.
The return of the truck to Tamaqua was the culmination of a yearlong effort by the historical society, spearheaded by Bob Dampman, 56, who became involved due to his family’s connection to Tamaqua: His parents, Jim and Florence, met and married in Tamaqua before moving to Brooksville aroiund 1971.
The younger Dampman acted as a liaison between Silver Springs and the historical society, sending pictures and information of the condition of the truck.
“I remember this fire truck when it was used in parades and festivals. My brother-in-law was with the volunteer company,” said Jim Dampman, 81.
“I was about 10 and I remember seeing the truck in a parade in 1943 tied to World War II,” Florence Dampman said.
In Tamaqua, historians and citizens alike are ready to welcome the Citizen’s Fire No. 1 truck back home.
“This is wonderful; we are very happy to get this truck back,” Freudenbeger said. “We will definitely get the truck cleaned up right away and then look at repairs or restoration. The truck will be in parades as soon as perhaps the end of this year.”
The Dampmans joined the Silver Springs employees to watch long-distance hauler Thomas Matonick of 1st Choice Transportation of Hazelton, Pa. and Gordon Goodwin of Dave’s Towing and Recovery in Citra gently load up the truck.
“It’s sort of sad,” said Bill Hall, as he and fellow Silver Springs employee Thomas Higgs looked on.
Both men agreed they were happy to see the truck go back to its roots.
“I remember the fire truck was across the street at another museum until it was brought across to the park,” said Virginia Ferguson, a 40-year employee and first female glass bottom boat captain.
As the truck was secured, Bob Dampman felt his mission was accomplished.
“I did this to honor my dad,” he said.

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