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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

Horse drawn, Chemical Engine No. 1

Horse drawn, Chemical Engine No. 1


One of the first horse drawn Chemical Engines is shown in the photo. One fireman sits on the engine behind a pair of horses, two firemen stand at the rear, and the rolled fire hose can be seen in the middle of the engine. Chemical Engine Company No.1 ran out of Engine House No. 1. The property for No. 1, at 49 LaGrave Avenue S.E., which was on the west side of LaGrave near the middle of the block between Island (now Weston) and Oakes Street, was acquired in 1868, and the Engine House constructed shortly after. The current No. 1 Engine House is at the N.E. corner of LaGrave and Weston.


Full Details

TitleHorse drawn, Chemical Engine No. 1

Thank you to retired Captain Robert Imhoff, of the Grand Rapids Fire Department, for sharing the photo with us.

The Chemical Engines used in the Grand Rapids Fire Department, both horse drawn and later motorized, had twin copper tanks of 30 to 35 gallons each of soda and acid which when mixed supplied a pressurized stream that could put out small fires sometimes even before a steam fire engine arrived on the scene. The City purchased its third horse drawn Chemical Engine from the Muskegon Chemical Fire Engine Company in May 1874. The first two, purchased in 1873 and called "The General Champlin" and "The Advance", were placed at Engine House No. 3 and Engine House No. 2, however the "Advance" was soon after transferred to Engine House No. 1.

Location In PhotoGrand Rapids MI
CollectionRobert Imhoff

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