Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Hopkinsville's Fire Station and Transportation Museum

Renovation of an old fire station is underway.

Old clock tower in Hopkinsville, KYThe clock tower on Hopkinsville's old fire station is looking very spiffy these days. It has fresh paint and perhaps even a new roof. It's a well-known landmark, sometimes used as a logo for Hopkinsville. I'm glad to see it looking so well.

The fire station and clock date back to 1924. The clock has been cleaned and repaired recently, and it's keeping good time on all four sides. Before its repair, it was seriously losing time.

Old fire station and clock tower, Hopkinsville, KYThe work on the clock tower is part of the renovation of the old fire station. It will eventually be opened as the Woody Winfree Fire and Transportation Museum.

Woody Winfree donated Hopkinsville Fire Engine No. 1, a 1928 La France to the museum several years ago, as well as other articles from his extensive collection of old fire-fighting equipment and memorabilia.

Regarding Winfree's donation:
The City of Hopkinsville originally purchased the truck in 1928 for $1 per pound. The $13,750 sticker price marked the greatest expenditure for fire equipment to that point by the city. It was the first truck in the Hopkinsville Fire Department built from the ground up solely as a fire engine. It was active for 40 years until it was declared surplus in 1968. Winfree brought it at that time.

Source: "A Herculean Task" by Matt Killebrew, Kentucky New Era, January 27, 2004 (Subscription may be required -- not sure.)

1928 LaFrance fire engine
The La France had a cracked block when the article was written in 2004, but it was scheduled to undergo repair.

A Mogul Wagon will be displayed here. The museum also owns a 1926 pumper, another fire truck of unknown-to-me vintage, a 1909 Model 10 Buick, a restored Model T, a 1957 John Deere tractor, and a collection of antique gas pumps.

I walked by the fire station a few days ago and peeked inside. A couple of men were working on the lights. When one of them saw me taking photos of the old front doors, he invited me to come to the rear of the building and admire the new doors. They are replicas of the old door, and they look great.

New back doors at fire station museumOriginal front doors at fire station museum

He pointed out the openings in the ceiling where the firemen slid down poles, just like the story books always said they did. I asked about the corrugation of the concrete floor in front of the back door. He explained that when they came back from a fire run, they came through the back door, and the corrugation helped to clean the horses' feet and the wheels of the fire equipment.

Renovation crew inside fire station museum
The old fire station is located across the street from the Pennroyal Museum. It will be a nice addition to Hopkinsville. Mr. William Turner, our very knowledgable county historian is deeply involved in the project. Besides his natural interest and his professional duties, the renovation is taking place next door to his office.

A few weeks ago when I came out of the courthouse, I heard a loud, spluttering engine, and over the hill came Mr. Turner, driving an old fire truck down Main Street. It made me happy to see that. I'm sure it was pretty cool to be at the wheel, too.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

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