Categorized | News

Restoration work begins on Red Devil 1

City Leaders, Parks, Public Works and the Fire Department gathered to commemorate the start of Red Devil 1's restoration.

The year was 1945 and the population of Germantown was just over 400 people.

Mayor Jack Barry, along with other city leaders, decided it was time for Germantown to have its own fire truck in order to protect the men and women of the town.

A fire truck has just become available in Cordova. It was a 1942 American LaFrance that was built during World War II to protect the National Fireworks Company who was making munitions for the War.

As 1945 came to a close, the war was over and the plant shut down.

On Oct. 4, 1945, Barry purchased the truck for $6,452.64, which was a significant amount for the small town. The truck was aptly nick-named Red Devil 1 after the Germantown High School Mascot and began its service to the city.

For two years, the truck was kept in the mayor’s garage until a fire station was built. In the evening, the men of the town would man the truck. During the day, when the men were at work, a group of high school boys would be called out of class in the event of a fire. This practice continued well into the late 1970s.

Red Devil 1 fought many fires, but by the early 1980s Germantown had grown significantly and now had well over 20,000 citizens. New and more modern firefighting apparatus had been purchased and Red Devil 1 was no longer suitable for service.

City Leaders, Parks, Public Works and the Fire Department gathered to commemorate the start of Red Devil 1's restoration.

City Leaders, Parks, Public Works and the Fire Department gathered to commemorate the start of Red Devil 1’s restoration.

Harry Cloyes, who had a keen interest in preserving Germantown’s history, requested that the truck be moved to his property and made part of his museum.

In May of 1983, the engine was declared obsolete by Mayor Arthur and the Board of Alderman and placed in the care of the Cloyes.

Over the last 33 years, Red Devil 1 has been a landmark at Cloyes Park. Thousands of children and adults have enjoyed seeing her, along with many other historical artifacts.

Unfortunately, time and the elements have not been kind. Her paint is peeling and critters have made it home.

Earlier this year, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen declared Red Devil 1 a Historical Artifact and created a committee to determine how best to perform the restoration work.

The committee will be made up of representatives of the Fire Department, Historic Commission, Public Safety Commission, and other members of the community.

There is much work, including fundraising, to be done. It is expected that the restoration will take a few years, but when finished she will be a prominent sign of Germantown’s history. She will also be used for public education, helping educate adults and children alike on the importance of fire safety.

On Dec. 20, the engine was moved to an enclosed garage so work can begin. You can keep up with the restoration by visiting the City of Germantown web site and Facebook Pages.