INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - A piece of firefighting history has left an Indianapolis museum and is headed for the auction block.
The 1889 American La France Steam Engine was loaned to the the Indianapolis Firefighters Museum in 1994 by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation. The foundation is auctioning several items this Saturday (March 11) and the the engine is among those up for bid.
"We are grateful for the opportunity to have had such a beautiful piece of firefighting history on display in our museum for the last 24 years. We have enjoyed a good relationship with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation and the IMS and thank them their support. We hope that wherever the Steamer lands, it will provide as much enjoyment to them as it did for us," Indianapolis Firefighters Local 416 President Hank Harris said.
The engine served the community of Cicero, Illinois and has long generated the most interest from visitors at the museum, IFD Battalion Chief Rita Reith wrote in a release. Reith says visitors often stopped to ask how the engine worked and how many horses it took to pull it.
The museum is located at 748 Massachusetts Avenue in the old IFD Fire Station #2, which is the oldest fire station in Marion County. It was built in the late 1870s. The museum opened in 1994.
Admission to the museum is free, though donations are "always appreciated." Retired firefighters volunteer their time to show visitors around the museum.