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Letter to Austin Fire Department Retirees and surviving family members
regarding the Austin Fire Department Museum

May 2004

Dear AFD Retiree or Family Member,

Austin, Texas is a beautiful city that encourages and supports preserving its rich history through many museums around the city. In a few short years the Austin Fire Department will celebrate the 150th anniversary of its first fire company, Hook and Ladder No. 1. In August of 1858, John Bremond, a prominent Austin businessman and former New York City fireman, helped form Austin's first company of firefighters.

Many cities, big and small, throughout the country have fire museums that illustrate the history of firefighting in their communities. A fire museum not only displays the historical items and tools of the old days, but it also serves as a place for children to learn about fire safety while they read about the stories of fire horses and ladder trucks.

AFD is nationally recognized as a top-notch fire department and we owe much of the credit for that reputation to the firefighters of our past. It's time that Austin had a fire museum of its own. To honor our history, we have formed a committee to discuss the elements of creating a museum. We are looking for a central site, including several buildings that used to be firehouses including Old Station 3 at Guadalupe St. and 30th St. We hope to be in position to open our doors within the next five years.

We are beginning to collect and preserve items of Austin's fire history. Sadly, 150 years is a long time and much of our history has been lost. Due to the foresight of some people over the years, and also due to luck, we have held on to some of our antiques. Unfortunately, we still need many more items to help illustrate the history and the progression of firefighting in Austin. We are looking for donations of items that are a part of Austin's fire history. To us, nothing is junk. Uniforms, turnouts, paperwork, maps, pictures, tools, or anything else related to the Austin Fire Department would be of interest. If any of you, or your loved ones, have helped us to preserve our history by saving items from being scrapped or thrown away, we would love to hear from you.

Thank you,

Museum Committee Chair, Firefighter Jerry Cohen
Station 7: (512) 477-6939
Home: (512) 449-8565