01/23/11 380 W, 1 I - + 6 - 4 Close View of Raleigh Fire Apparatus Circa 1922

This is a panoramic-style photo cropped from a full-frame view of Raleigh fire apparatus in the 1920s. The location is Station 1 on West Morgan Street. The source is the North Carolina State Archives, call number N.2005.7.14. The cited date is 1920, but closer examination suggests a couple years later. Click once or twice to greatly enlarge:


The three trucks on the right are pumpers and each has a hose reel. In 1920, the city only had two pumpers (with reels) and two chemical hose trucks (without reels) on the roster. The next pumper was added in 1922. Thus the picture probably dates to 1922.

The pumper on the left has thicker and presumably newer wheels. And looks quite a bit like our surviving 1926 American LaFrance. That was a Type 75, one of two delivered that year. The 1922 pumper was also an American LaFrance Type 75, as was a 1925 delivered three years later. Since only one newer-looking pumper is shown, let's date the photo to circa 1922.

The chief's car, far left, could be a 1911 model. The aerial apparatus is a 1916 American LaFrance Type 17 tiller. The two pumpers on the right are thus likely the 1914 Type 12 and 1918 Type 45. Not pictured is the 1922 American LaFrance Type 14 combination service truck, delivered September-October 1922. Perhaps the picture was taken before that date? (The 1922 pumper was delivered August 1922. Maybe the photo dates to that month.)

What else are we seeing? Notice the hand-cranked siren on each apparatus. Also, the fleet is now painted red. The first trucks were delivered as white, with gold and blue trim. The entire fleet was repainted in the early 1920s. Based on this and other photos, the fleet had been repainted by late 1922.

That looks like Fire Chief Hubert Horton standing second from the left. He served from August 1919 to June 1923. That further reinforces 1922 as the probable year of the photo. Unsure who is pictured on the left. Perhaps the Asst. Chief. From data in my fire department timelines, W. Ernest Holland was Asst. Chief in 1922. But the person on the left isn't in uniform. Maybe it's the Mayor? Or another official?

Guess that's enough photo play and detective work for one morning. Time to resume work on other projects. Read more RFD history, and see more historical photos.

Chief Holland is pictured on the right of the ladder truck. Notice the double-breasted coat, compared to the single-breasted versions worn by nearly everyone else.
Legeros - 01/23/11 - 11:52

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