Engine Company No. 5
I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire engine.
by Kurt Vonnegut
In 1736 Benjamin Franklin established the Union Fire Company in Philadelphia. George Washington was a volunteer firefighter in Alexandria, Virginia. In 1774, as a member of the Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Company, he bought a new fire engine and gave it to the town, which was its very first. However the United States did not have government-run fire departments until around the time of the American Civil War. Excerpt. "History of firefighting." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 6 Jan. 2012
If you’re walking down Cambridge Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts on your way to Inman Square, you’ll notice a mural painted on the side of the fire station. Have you ever wondered why two of the firefighters look remarkably like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin? It’s not because those two founding fathers were firemen in Cambridge but rather because the mural was painted in 1976 by Ellary Eddy to celebrate the nation’s Bicentennial.
The artwork features current Cambridge firefighters (at the time of the painting) along with Washington and Franklin, who served as volunteer firemen in their spare time. The classic Dalmatian fire dog, Buff, is also included. The apparatus shown is the 1960 Pirsch 1,000 gallons per minute pump which was Engine 5’s pump at the time. Lt. John O’Leary, who retired in January 2011, is the last active Cambridge firefighter to be depicted in the mural.
Depicted in the mural artwork from L-R: Francis Dudley, George Washington, Buff the Fire Dog, Robert Carroll, Arthur “Buddy” Largenton, William Rose, Arthur Souza, James Nagle, Walter Ellis, Tom Sullivan, John O’Leary, Benjamin Franklin, Maitland “Mickey” LaRose, Ronald Ring, Francis Oliver, Francis Bransfield, and Donald McElearney.
Source: Calabria Photo Journal & Cambridge Word Press The Cambridge Room provides historic tidbits, facts, and notes of interest on Cambridge, Massachusetts brought to you by the Cambridge Public Library's Archivist.