(4/19) Years ago, Emmitsburg Commissioner
Glenn Blanchard served as an election judge in the Vigilant Hose Company. At
slow times during the day, he took time to look at the artifacts of
Emmitsburg’s firefighting history preserved in cases in the fire station. He
said the history represented there “fascinated” him.
Its relics and historical information like
that which can be preserved in Heritage Hall. County officials proposed
Heritage Hall in December to be a county fire museum and a national fire
Dressed as an early Frederick County firefighter, Chip Jewell addressed the
town commissioners on April 16 about the new county fire museum and national
fire service archive.
“This is an opportunity to help save the
history of our county fire service and the heritage of our nation’s fire
service,” Jewell told the commissioners during their meeting on April 16.
The location for the two operations would
be in the current Emmitsburg Ambulance Company building, though it will be
remodeled so that it looks like an old-time fire house. However, the
commissioners had asked the county to tear the building down when the ambulance
company vacated it for their new building on Creamery Road.
This was before the idea of Heritage Hall
was presented. To continue moving the project forward, the commissioners needed
to rescind their request that the county tear the building down. This they did
unanimously during the meeting.
Mayor James Hoover said Heritage Hall
would be “a perfect fit” with Emmitsburg, which already has the National Fire
Training Center and the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial.
The front portion would be occupied by the
county fire museum filled with firefighting artifacts, including an 1835 Rumsey
hand pumper used to fight the courthouse fire in Frederick in 1861. The archive
would be at the rear of the building and hold national documents and other
written materials concerning the fire service.
“I think it will be a wonderful treasure
for our town,” said Commissioner Cliff Sweeney.
The purpose of the archive, which will be
known as the National Fire Heritage Center” is to have an archive of America’s
fire service in the same way the Army Heritage Center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania
maintains materials relating to the army. Some major fire service
organizational and private collections have already committed to donating their
memorabilia to the proposed center.