Museum’s fire engine has staying power |

Museum’s fire engine has staying power

Brandon Johnson

After the 1924 Ford Model T was parked in the Museum of Northwest Colorado, Dan Davidson didn’t want to move it.

For starters, the fire truck from Guthrie Center, Iowa, is the same model as Craig’s first fire truck, making it a valuable display, said Davidson, museum director.

But that isn’t the only reason Davidson said he wants the truck to stay put. Although the fire truck was driven into the museum on its own power, it took three people to get it there. The effort left a hole in the museum’s then-new door.

“I don’t want to ever put it back in here again,” Davidson said.

Since 1992, the truck has been at the museum, 590 Yampa Ave.

The exhibit has been a favorite with children and senior citizens, Davidson said.

Children like the old-fashioned, hand-powered siren, he said.

Older people like to see a Model T in working condition and reminisce about learning to drive on a similar automobile.

The truck gives Davidson a chance to talk to museum visitors about the history of fire fighting in Craig, he said.

“One of the major reasons for the water system was so they could stop burning down buildings,” Davidson said.

The town’s first fire engine missed its first call, arriving too late to a house fire, Davidson said. The house already had burned down. The city took its first fire truck out of commission in 1941.

The museum purchased its truck from local collector Ron Higgins.

Higgins purchased the Model T in the late 1980s at an auction in Atlantic City, Iowa.

Higgins said he intended to buy an old Maxwell, a brand of automobiles made in the United States from about 1903 to 1925. Instead, Higgins returned to Craig with only the fire truck.

“I ended up buying the fire truck, and I missed out on the Maxwell,” Higgins said.

When he bought the truck, he didn’t know it was the same model as Craig’s first fire engine, Higgins said.

Higgins kept the fire truck at his house for a few years and occasionally drove it around town before loaning it to the museum in 1992.

The museum bought the truck from Higgins in July.

Now that the museum owns the truck, Davidson said he plans to do a larger exhibit about the history of fire fighting in Craig.

The new exhibit could be up and running by next summer, Davidson said.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or

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