The Mansfield Fire Museum
Established in 1987, the Mansfield Fire Museum is dedicated to preserving and promoting the history of firefighting in the region. The museum's collection has grown to include nineteen fire engines, with the oldest dating back to 1837. The museum is also the site of a reproduction circa 1900 fire station and horse stable and life-size historical model of a section of Mansfield’s North Main Street. The museum also offers a collection of other equipment, photographs, and artifacts related to the history of firefighting around Mansfield, and it is open for both regular and “haunted” tours.
Backstory and Context
The Mansfield Fire Museum was founded in 1987. It moved into the Five Cousins Department Store building in 1989, and Museum staff worked on significant repairs to the building for the next two years. The Museum ultimately opened on October 12th, 1994. Since that time, it has continued to expand and improve.
Today, the Museum has nineteen fire engines dating as far back as 1837. Many of these still run. This collection includes a 1900 American Metro engine, which was pulled by men or horses and carried a steam-powered water pump. Another piece is a “pumper,” a hand-powered engine that significantly predates the American Metro vehicle. Yet another is a 1927 Pirsch engine, which the Museum purchased in poor condition and rebuilt and restored. The Museum also displays other firefighting-related artifacts, including a bell that was housed in the tower of the Mansfield firehouse until 1925, when a new structure was built. Moved to Central Park, it was rung for hours in 1945 to celebrate the end of World War II. The clapper was ultimately removed to prevent vandals from ringing the bell late at night; the bell was finally relocated to the Museum in 1993.
The Museum also features a reproduction circa 1900 fire station and horse stable, a life-size historical model of a section of Mansfield’s North Main Street (including a drugstore with soda fountain), and a “Safety House” used to teach fire preparedness and safety. It displays photos and articles about fires in Mansfield, including the largest fire in the city during the 20th century, the Quality Furniture Company fire in 1944. The Museum is open for tours as well as paranormal investigations, both of which are free. (The Museum alleges multiple “unexplained happenings” on the property.)
Kyle, Maureen. Reidel, Jeff. See The Possible: Mansfield Fire Museum, 3 WKYC Studios. July 21st 2014. Accessed July 21st 2020. https://www.wkyc.com/article/news/local/see-the-possible-mansfield-fire-museum/241991782.
The Mansfield Fire Museum. Accessed July 21st 2020. http://www.themansfieldfiremuseum.com/.
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