Boles Fire Company #1
When Boles Fire Protection District moved to its new facility in Villa Ridge, MO, the old fire station a few blocks away sit vacant. It has recently become the home of Boles Fire Company #1 Historical Fire Equipment Museum.
Boles Historian Charles Staats has many pieces of restored historic fire and EMS equipment on display. Charles and his group of volunteers are constantly working on a project or giving a tour of the facility. Currently Charles Staats along with Randal Andre, Fire Chaplain Harvey Dubbs and others are working on restoring a 1918 American LaFrance pumper. The bay doors are usually open and someone is working on a restoration or doing research. If you have time, feel free to stop by and Charles will gladly show you the antique equipment plus all of the history inside Boles Fire Station #6.
Boles Fire Company # 1 is a separate entity from Boles Fire Protection District. No taxpayer money nor BFPD funds are used to support the museum. Support is gathered through fundraisers, donations or leasing the antique equipment to movie studios (some of the equipment was in the movie “Lincoln”).
1918 American LaFrance
This truck has the rarest six-cylinder engine that American LaFrance made. It has a triple combination pump and a German Silver Radiator. Built in Almira, New York, it served as a front-line truck in Providence, Rhode Island, for 40 years. The truck is in its fifth year of “nut and bolt” restoration. 99% of the restoration has been crafted by hand: polished, bronzed, nickel covered, leather work, metal work, painting, engine rebuild and wood.
The truck was donated by Randal Andre and it looked like the photo to the left before restoration. The completely restored truck was revealed at the June 21, 2014, BFPD Safety Day.
1860 Fire Chief’s Buggy
This Buggy was the transportation for the Fire Chief in the 1860’s. It was pulled by one horse and was the fastest and most lightweight in the fleet. The Fire Chief was always on duty and went to every fire.
This “Chief’s” buggy was found in Gray Summit, MO, and was restored to this condition. The lights, bell and axe, as well as, the eagle were added. All restorations were done with hand tools.
1860 Hose Reel Cart
This cart was pulled to a fire scene by one horse or four men with taglines. The hose was hooked up behind a “Water Buffalo” or the “Piano Box Squirrel Tail pumper”.
1860 Water Buffalo
The “Water Buffalo” was pulled by 2 horses to a fire scene. It holds over 350 gallons of water and could supply the Hosereel Cart or the Piano Box Squirrel Tail Pumper. The tank is made of mahogany, a hose for drafting is located on its side. A carved eagle made from cherry wood can be found behind the drivers seat. The wagon is complete with a large bell on the back and a bronze eagle on the fill pipe.
1860 Surgeon’s Buggy
The “Surgeon’s Buggy” is a Joseph W. Moon buggy built in St. Louis Missouri. The frame of which was used when producing the first Moon Automobile. The chassis is a Surry. This particular buggy was purchased and historically restored to its original condition. It has been used in over 50 different movies including “Gods and Generals”.
1860 Civil War MS (Medical Services) Ambulance
The “MS Ambulance” was pulled by 2 horses and was used to tranport injured soldiers during the Civil War. The Spring Board Chassis was originally made in local Washington Missouri by the HJ Buhr & CO. It was restored by Charles Staats. This particular wagon was used in the 2012 movie “Lincoln”. *Historical Fact: All MS Ambulances flew a MS- Medical Services Flag. The flag was the same for the north and the south and the ambulance drivers transported all of the wounded.
1860 Horse Drawn Squirrel Tail Pumper
The “Piano Box Squirreltail Pumper” was pulled by 2 or 4 horses and was used to extinguish fires. The hand pump was cranked by 4-8 men to increase water pressure from a water source or from the “Water Buffalo”. This pump was made in 1860 in Toranto Canada.The pump was donated to Boles Fire Co. #1 and was rebuilt to historical accuracy by them. It is called a “Piano Box” because the base of pump looked like a piano box. The “Squirrel Tail” could be dropped into a lake or stream to “draft” water into the pump and could then be used to extinguish a fire.