Museum open house to spotlight history of Portland firefighters

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PORTLAND — Hundreds of pieces of the city’s firefighting history will be on display Saturday on Spring Street.

The Portland Fire Museum is hosting its sixth annual open house with a block party, antique fire trucks, a jazz band and items from the Portland Veteran Firemen’s Association collection.

The association has amassed a collection of Fire Department artifacts and memorabilia since its creation in 1891. Since 1974 the collection has been housed at the former Engine 4 station on Spring Street. The station itself is on the National Register of Historic Places.

“It was built in 1837 primarily as a school house for the West End Female Grammar School and housed a fire company,” said firefighter Michael Daicy, who is a member of the Firemen’s Association. “That was common then.”

The school closed in 1869, and the fire company moved out in 1966. In 1974, the association moved in.

The collection includes a pumper engine from 1938, hand pumpers from 1967 and 1857, speaking trumpets, old badges, leather buckets, slide poles and photos.

There are also portraits, lithographs, paintings, logs, department records and other documents.

Film footage of Portland firefighters and trucks from 1912 will be shown Saturday. A steam engine from the Manchester, N.H., Fire Department is expected to be on display, along with a collection of antique fire trucks from the Pine Tree Chapter of the Society for the Preservation & Appreciation of Antique Fire Motor Apparatus.

Horses from Kourt Jester Morgans in Falmouth will occupy the original horse stalls during the open house, and visitors are welcome to bring carrots or apples to feed the horses.

The first 100 kids get a free plastic fire helmet. The museum opens at 10 a.m. and the event runs until 3 p.m. The Fire Museum is at 157 Spring St. Suggested donations are $5 for adults and $3 for children. For more information, call 774-2040.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or

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firemuseum 003.jpgThe Portland Fire Museum, at 157 Spring St. in the West End, will hold an open house Saturday beginning at 10 a.m.