1928 fire truck back in town

Monday, May 15, 2006

Thanks to the Friends of the Greencastle Fire Department, a piece of Greencastle's history is back in the community.

On May 5, a 1928 Studebaker fire engine originally used in Greencastle was returned to the community through donated money collected by the Friends of the Greencastle Fire Department.

"This shows our pride in the community," Friends of the GFD President Lou Fontaine said Friday at the members-only grand opening of the Putnam County Museum. "It's a service project."

"It's amazing," GFD Chief Bill Newgent said. "We're fortunate for the owner to offer this truck for one, and for it to be in the shape it's in.

"We're also fortunate for a group like the Friends to be able to (help) bring something like this back."

The fire engine was renovated by William Rausch of Flint, Mich., Fontaine said.

Fontaine said Rausch recently contacted GFD Chief Bill Newgent about the engine and the possibility of bringing the truck back to Greencastle.

"I said, 'we ought to get it if we can,'" Fontaine said.

Fontaine said he, Newgent and GFD Cpt. Pat Carrico all traveled to Flint, Mich., to see the truck and take a ride in it. Newgent said Dixie Chopper flew the trio to Flint.

Newgent said Rausch's daughter lives in Indianapolis. He said that was how Rausch knew where the truck was originally.

"It was awesome," Newgent said of riding in the truck for the first time. "Pat and I rode on the back of the truck. It's really neat to see a truck like that that still runs.

"(Rausch) did an awesome job of (renovating) the truck. It runs really well."

After seeing the truck and taking a ride in it, Fontaine said he believed it was possible for the Friends to acquire it.

"We knew the price, and it was attainable," Fontaine said.

Fontaine said the Friends board voted unanimously to purchase the truck for $30,000, most of which was donation money. He said the board took out a loan for the rest and will pay that off through donations.

Rausch brought the truck to Greencastle only weeks before the opening of the museum. Fontaine said plans have been made to eventually place the vehicle in the museum.

"It will be here in the museum when they can accommodate it," he said.

He also said the Friends of GFD hope it can be showcased in local parades and it could be used as a training tool for the fire department.

"This is an important thing to have for the fire department and the museum," Fontaine said.

Fontaine said the board has started the Studebaker Club and will take donations of $100 or more. In addition, he said funds brought in will be used to start up an endowment for the upkeep of the vehicle.

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