Fire Trucks & Detroit History at Michigan Firehouse Museum

By: Amber Ogden | August 24, 2015

If you, too, have an affinity for “Chicago Fire,” you’ll enjoy the Michigan Firehouse Museum. One of few premiere firehouse museums in the country, it’s dedicated to firefighters who serve the local community.

The nonprofit organization showcases exhibits, promotes and teaches fire safety education, holds community and firefighting-related events throughout the year, and this Saturday, will host its big summer event, the Fire Truck Muster!

This year’s Muster, held on Saturday, Aug. 29 in Ypsilanti’s Riverside Park, is a free event dedicated in memory to cofounder and former board president, Howard Weaver. A 1952 GMC fire truck will be on display at the Muster, along with a 1927 Graham Brothers fire truck, made in Detroit!

Michigan Firehouse Museum

(Photo courtesy of Steve Wilson)

At the museum, you’ll find Detroit firefighting memorabilia including log books, helmets, dress hats, a dispatch board, firefighting history books and photographs of those who served the city of Detroit.

“A 1926 Chevy fire truck from New Buffalo Township is on display in the lower level,” Steve Wilson, manager of the Michigan Firehouse Museum, said. “There is also a video available showing Detroit firefighting history, starting with the training academy in 1930.”

Bonus: everyone gets a free plastic fire helmet!

Museum exhibits include an original, restored 1898 firehouse with pole, kitchen and bunk area, as well as a one-of-a-kind 1917 American LaFrance ladder truck steered from both the front and rear.  The museum has fire apparatus on display dating back to 1826, and possesses the largest collection of fire truck bells, sirens and lights ever assembled!

The museum is involved with community events year-round, and hosts an annual pancake breakfast to raise funds for Ypsilanti City Firefighters. Recently, the museum distributed smoke alarms to various fire departments in Washtenaw County in order to promote fire safety.

“We hope (visitors) take away an appreciation for the service firefighters in Detroit have performed for over 150 years to their community,” Wilson said. “We hope they realize what a difficult and hard job firefighting can be, with some making the ultimate sacrifice to save others.”