It was an early 1930s Pirsch Fire Truck, “Engine #1,” Chattahoochee Valley Fire Department situated at Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee, Florida. It gave many long years of loyal service and then ended up on the surplus sales list—eventual home of most state properties. Ah, this little engine was fortunate indeed. It was purchased by Mr. Strong and family of Iron city, Georgia. Lovingly, they began the arduous process of restoring the little valiant engine. First things first—make sure it runs… and run it did! A genuine delight to young and old alike—this little engine led many a Southwest Georgia parade, picnic, fundraiser or other special events. Soon, restoration of its bright red paint and that wonderful art nouveau gold filigree was scheduled. Alas, it was not to be. Mr. Strong suffered a heart attack whose consequences proved fatal. At the same time, his wonderfully restored historic home burned as well. Through no fault of its own, the little engine sat forlorn, forgotten and neglected. One day, the curator mentioned the importance of preserving ancient fire trucks and other elements of public service. Robin Tillery spoke up and said, “well, let’s go see Mr. Strong’s Fire Truck, it’s a beauty.” We went, we saw, we asked for (but were turned down) and we persisted. One day, Mrs. Strong called to ask if we were still interested in the engine—“OH YES” we replied. With much effort and much glee, the little engine made its way to “THE MUSEUM.” It even made one more parade…! The engine was washed, its remaining nickel plate polished and then it was pulled up onto a flat bed trailer and pulled in the annual Mayhaw parade. Almost homeless again: The museum was evicted (no nice way to say it) from its home in Colquitt, Georgia. Reluctantly, we could not store the engine out of the elements and refused to participate in its further demise by rust and neglect—hey, we take our tasks seriously, even if we don’t always have the funds to do it right…. The former partner of Mr. Strong, Mike Moulton, expressed a desire to see the engine remain in the Iron City area for all time and to eventually become a show piece again. We agreed. With a sad heart at losing the engine but happy in knowing it had a permanent home out of the elements and would be eventually restored, “The Museum,” Inc., tendered the little Chattahoochee Engine #1 to Mr. Moulton and Iron City for all times. In return, Mike Moulton bore the cost of relocation and contributed a very needed sum of $500.oo towards the overall moving expense of the museum….Bye little engine, we miss you already,
Figure 2 Mrs. Strong & son.
Figure 3 Detail from former glory