Just east of Sky Harbor Airport, between Tempe and Scottsdale, a left turn would take you to the zoo or the botanical garden. If you turn right, however, into what looks like a rather industrial building area, you’ll find a museum dedicated to the fire fighter. The five exhibit areas includes the National Firefighting Hall of Heroes, a history of wildland firefighting in the U.S. and almost 100 restored fire fighting equipment. The hardware on display, though most are American, are from several countries around the world and date from 1725 to 1969. You can grab location information, hours of operation and other details including admission fees here.
In the opening photo, a memorial to the firefighters, Police and Port Authority officers killed in New York on 9/11/2001. The exhibit opened in December 2001, and on September 9, 2004, the full-size quarter horse memorial was added. The creation stands at five feet tall with a length of over seven feet. The horse carries riderless boots, backward in the stirrups. The beautifully finished equine sits atop a display of the headgear worn by the officers being honored. On the wall of the exhibit are the photos and names of those who gave their lives that fateful day.
The Hall of Heroes honors firefighters who have died in the line of duty and recognizes firefighters who have been decorated for heroism. Their database of heroes can be accessed by visitors and printouts can be made. The database holds nearly 9,000 firefighter honorees.
One of the pieces of equipment may actually have a tie to my family. We have lost the details of the immigrants of my family who came from Europe in the mid-19th century. We know that they settled in New York State for a time before heading to the midwest.
Could this piece of equipment have been built and sold by my relatives? We will never know. There are no records of Steiner Manufacturing Company in Albany New York archives. Even Google, who appears to know just about everything doesn’t seem to know anything about the Steiner Manufacturing Company.
The equipment in the photo above is a shot of the apparatus manufactured in the late 1800s. Visitors to the museum are given a looseleaf notebook with each piece of equipment identified by a number. In the image below, you can see the first and second items on display. If you look up the number in the notebook, you can find out the details about that specific item. Or you can opt for a guided tour from a volunteer, if someone is available when you visit.
The gallery of images below features some of the equipment we saw on our afternoon visit to the museum. Allow yourself at least a couple of hours, more if you really like to study historical mechanical equipment. There are three large areas filled with examples from different time periods. Click on an image to enlarge it and to scroll through the gallery.