Friday, July 19, 2024
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Baxter’s First-Ever Fire Truck Back As Historic Artifact

Baxter’s first-ever fire truck has been reclaimed by the Friends of the Baxter Museum for parades and community events.

Friends of the Depot President Glenn Jones said the 1946 Ford fire engine was auctioned off to the town of Dunlap, Tennessee years ago. He said it recently appeared in an online auction and he jumped at the chance to bring the historic vehicle back home to Baxter. He said the Friends of the Depot bought the truck for $9,000 and installed a new engine and lights.

“I think that vehicle is very important to have, especially with it being the very first fire truck that the city of Baxter actually owned,” Jones said. “And it’s cool-looking. It’s a ’46. I mean, all the young kids and even young adults will want their picture made with it or even take a ride in it.”

Jones said the next step is finding a place to store the vehicle. He said he hopes to build a small, brick replica fire station near the depot to protect the truck from the weather and give residents a good look at the historic machine.

“It was worth doing because that’s what our job with the Baxter Depot Museum is,” Jones said. “To preserve history with Baxter. All of our festivals that we do, like the Harvest Festival that you all support and the Summer Festival, all that money goes into paying for things that preserve history.”

He said Baxter residents have rallied together to get the truck into good shape. He said a local mechanic installed the new engine, a new fuel tank, and new gauges. A local family will paint the truck with Napa Auto Parts supplying free red paint. He said the truck was the inaugural step in protecting Baxter residents from fires many years ago.

“Fire protection, you know, wasn’t a big thing,” Jones said. “I mean, if somebody’s house burned, it caught on fire, it just burned to the ground, and the county didn’t have no resources. So it was important for Baxter, a small town, very small back then, to get that truck.”

He said he plans to start raising funds to build a space for the truck.