Wellesley’s First Fire Engine – History Mystery, Sept. 2014

Sept. 14, 2014 – Question

These Wellesley fire men are pictured in front of the old Church Street Station, c.1912.  They are proudly posing in Wellesley’s first motorized fire engine.  Even though the picture is in black & white, you probably envision the fire engine painted a classic red, but according to contemporary Townsman newspaper articles it was painted a different color!  Any ideas on what color Wellesley’s first motorized fire engine was painted?

Sept. 29, 2014 – Answer

Wellesley’s first motorized fire apparatus was painted white!  The town appropriated $600 in March 1912 and the Seagrave auto was delivered on August 12, 1912.  This was a welcome addition to the town’s horse-drawn apparatus and the Townsman reported that “some of the residents of the town had an opportunity of seeing the new combination fire auto in operation.  The coloring of white in place of the usual glaring red of the fire autos of neighboring towns gives a very pleasing effect. The entire force availed themselves of a chance to ride on its first try-out.” (Townsman Aug 16, 1912 p.6)  Auto fire engines were becoming more common after 1910 and Wellesley was among many towns in Massachusetts to purchase a motorized fire truck in 1912.
Kathleen Fahey, Curator