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A gem from 1854

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  • A gem from 1854

    Parkersburg News and Sentinel
    PARKERSBURG, W.Va. - One of Parkersburg's historical treasures
    returned home recently. A fire wagon, dating from 1854 and recently
    acquired by Oil and Gas Museum director Dave McKain, was unveiled
    in a ceremony in front of the downtown museum.
    McKain and local businessman Gary Traugh purchased the antique
    fire wagon from the online auction site eBay.
    "The wagon was on its way to Pennsylvania, but we saved it,"
    McKain said. "It was originally from Parkersburg, but was taken
    away and rebuilt."
    In a speech to the small crowd gathered on the sidewalk in front
    of the museum, McKain revealed the struggle he and Traugh faced in
    buying the antique.
    "Someone in Pennsylvania really wanted it, but we wanted it
    The volunteer director and historian also expressed the
    importance of returning the wagon to its native site as well as the
    excitement he felt in seeing it become a part of the museum's
    Parkersburg Mayor Jimmy Colombo attended the unveiling ceremony
    and also expressed his excitement at the return of the wagon.
    "I think it's exciting when people can go back in history, and
    it's interesting to look at the way people provided safety to their
    community," he said. "It was a giant step to have a pump that
    could replace the old bucket brigade."
    Though Traugh and McKain will not reveal the amount they paid
    for the wagon, McKain said it was "a lot of money." However,
    Colombo acknowledges the original wagon must have cost a lot less
    than today's fire engines, which, he said, can reach $600,000.
    Members of the Parkersburg Fire Department attended the event in
    their own 21st century versions of the "fire wagon." The modern
    fire trucks surrounding the tiny wagon in front of the museum made
    its ability to fight a fire seem even more incredible. Several
    firefighters pumped the wagon, demonstrating the method of Civil
    War-era firefighters. Many jokingly complained of the weight of the
    brass bars used to pump water into a blaze and said it was
    certainly much more difficult to be a firefighter in the 1850s than
    it is today.
    The fire wagon will be showcased among the museum's other
    artifacts, a collection McKain began long ago. McKain has had an
    interest in history, specifically oil- and gas-related antiques,
    for much of his adult life. The fire wagon is especially exciting
    to McKain.
    "It's very exciting in history when you get back past the
    Usually an artifact from that era would be in poor condition,
    but McKain is impressed with the almost-perfect condition of the
    "It's in wonderful condition," he said.
    The Oil and Gas Museum has a wide collection of items from Wood
    County's rich oil and gas history. Antiques ranging from equipment
    used in oil refineries to letters from businessmen concerning their
    private investments line the walls of the museum. McKain co-founded
    the museum, beginning with his own collection of oil- and
    gas-related antiques.
    Of the fire wagon, McKain said, "It will help enhance the story
    of Parkersburg."
    That story is one that consists of Parkersburg's citizens and
    the methods and materials they used in their everyday lives as well
    as the equipment they relied .
    "This is a piece of Parkersburg's heritage, history and
    culture" said McKain.
    Distributed by The Associated Press

    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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