This weekend, we took a trip out to the Charlottesville area for a wedding and some wine tasting. On Saturday, this adventure took us to Graves Mountain for some apple picking. For me, this meant an opportunity to take pictures of people picking apples. The orchard was part of a larger farm that had pigs, cows, and horses for folks to visit with. But I was struck by a different, seemingly neglected, attraction: two large, old, rusted firetrucks. The machines were gradually being overgrown, and had clearly not been used for much of anything, let alone putting out fires, for quite a while. Yet, there they were. A reflection back to an older time.
I did a bit of quick research, and it looks like the truck would have been from the late 1940s or early 1950s. Mack was one of the preeminent providers of fire trucks beginning in 1911 until 1990, when they stopped production. Missing from the hood of this truck is the signature bulldog hood ornament.
I was a big fan of the dials, gauges, and knobs that were on the side of the truck. These would have been critical components for the firefighters, controlling and monitoring the water pressure while they put out the flames.
While no one else seemed to be paying too much attention to these two machines, I couldn’t help but take a few pictures and think about how they got here, why they were left, and what sorts of adventures they must have seen during their day. Who were the men who road them every day? Who bounced on the now worn springs as they raced off to fight a fire? What type of tragedy had they faced, or heroic deeds did they perform?
Of course, years of sitting in one place not being used has left the entire piece a ruin, a memory of a different time. There are still glimmers of what used to be: the hoses in the back, the worn seats, busted emergency light. Even the door to the passenger side left open, as if waiting for someone the leap in on their way to put out flames, or hustling out to unload and hook up the hoses. It was a surprising find at the apple orchard. Who knows how these two engines ended up there. Were they a project that someone had thought to take on, but neglected?
Regardless, it’s always a pleasure to see remnants of the past in unexpected places. Even though these two fire engines had been clearly neglected, they still provided visitors to the orchard a glimpse into the past, and I appreciated the opportunity.
All images are taken by the author, and protected by Creative Commons License. You can see more photos at Flickr.