Ti firefighters to open museum

TICONDEROGA-The Ticonderoga Fire Department will mark its 20th anniversary with the formal opening of its new museum.

The opening and dedication of the facility, constructed on the west side of the fire station, will be Sunday, May 29, at 2 p.m.

"We're really proud of it," Fire Chief Jeff Burns said of the museum. "We're not historians, we're firemen. But I think it came out really well."

The Ticonderoga Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 formally started in 1991, but has a long history dating back more than a century. The community was served by three departments - the Defiance Hook & Ladder, the Defiance Hose and the W.W. Jeffers Hose - until a Ticonderoga fire district consolidated them into a single department in 1991.

When the unified Ti fire company was formed, Newt Brown was named historian. He collected artifacts through the years, storing them in a small room at the fire house. In 2005 then-Chief Carl Perry decided the department needed a museum to display Brown's collection. Both men are now deceased.

"It all really started with Newt," Mary Cunningham, department president, said. "Some people thought he was crazy to save this stuff, but now we have this beautiful museum."

The museum features old firefighting equipment, antique furniture, photos, newspaper clippings from major fires and events, ribbons, medals and more.

It has displays on Ticonderoga's earliest departments, the Defiance Hook & Ladder, the Defiance Hose and the W.W. Jeffers Hose, along with the ladies auxiliary and the town's junior firefighters, who were originally Boy Scouts.

Featured are a hose cart from the 1800s, a 1923 American LaFrance fire truck and a 1950s juke box that was in one of the town's fire stations.

There's a story behind every exhibit. The 1923 fire truck, for example, was believed to be a 1921 model. It turns out the truck was ordered in 1921, but the village's payment check bounced and the company refused to deliver the truck, Burns explained. Two years later, when the village had cash to make the purchase, a new truck was delivered.

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