1898 American LaFrance
'Metropolitan' Steam Fire Pumper, #3258
This steam pumper was originally pulled by three horses abreast but was later converted to be hauled by a Fordson tractor. It was built in Elmira, New York. Film of this fire pumper being pulled by horses is rumored to exist in an archive somewhere in the city but has yet to be found by the museum. Long retired even at that time, it was last used in San Antonio on April 4, 1921. Following a flood downtown, the pumper was used to drain out building basements. This same flood also led to the creation of what we now know as the river walk. Instead of completely re-routing the river, which was very seriously suggested, to avoid a repeat of the flooding, it was decided to create better flood controls yet maintain a stream across the heart of the city. It was donated to TTM in the early 1970s. The city's first ever steam pumper was donated to the Witte Museum at the same time. It is now on permanent loan to a museum in Houston.
1898 American LaFrance fire pumper used in San Antonio, pulled by three horses
Our horse drawn, steam powered, pumper.
The Pumper was gifted to the museum in perpetuity. Two other such pumpers gifted to other San Antonio museum's, have ended up in other cities. Only we actually kept ours.

1898 American LaFrance fire pumper.
1898 American LaFrance fire pumper.
1898 American LaFrance sign.
1898 American LaFrance fire pumper wheel detail.
1898 American LaFrance steam fire pumper.

1898 American LaFrance steam fire pumper.
1898 American LaFrance steam fire pumper.
1880s San Antonio steam pumper owned by the Witte Museum now on display in Houston

 

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