History of the Old Dominion Historical Fire Society
The Old Dominion Historical Fire Society, Inc. was formed as a result of the association of two individuals with a national organization called the Society for the Preservation and Appreciation of Antique Motor Fire Apparatus in America, more commonly referred to as SPAAMFAA.
The first organizational meeting of the local club was held on June 6, 1978. There were approximately fifteen people in attendance, Monthly meetings followed and an organized group was formed. This original group played an important role in assisting the “Steamer Company #5”, Richmond Fire Museum to become a reality.
On May 23, 1979, an ex-City of Richmond, 1948 Mack pumper, was donated to the group by the Shelton Witt Equipment Corporation. This equipment sparked much interest and became a regular participant in various parades all over the State of Virginia. There was also a small group of privately owned antique fire apparatus participating at the time, as well.
On June 2, 1979, The Society sponsored the first Richmond Firefighter’s Parade and Show. This event was very successful and helped to attract many new members and generate additional interest.
The Society applied to SPAAMFAA for Chapter status late in 1979. The application was accepted and the Old Dominion Historical Fire Society was born. The Charter for our Virginia Regional Chapter was presented by SPAAMFAA President Frank Tremel, to ODHFS President Thomas Herman on May 14, 1980, during the antique fire engine muster that was held annually on the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, MD.
From those beginnings to now, The Society has played an important part in the collection, restoration, preservation, and presentation of our American Fire Service History. Our members have been actively collecting and safekeeping historical records, photographs, artifacts, memorabilia, and apparatus that pertain to the American fire service. The Society has sponsored over twenty five antique fire apparatus musters and participated in hundreds of parades, town festivals, school and historical events; always at no charge to the public.
A quarterly newsletter, “The Old Dominion Torchbearer,” is published by The Society and contains articles on the history of the fire service in Virginia, buy, sell & want ads, calendar of events, minutes of meetings, and other items of interest to our members.
Meetings and events are planned with the family in mind and usually revolve around a social of some kind. Group, week and getaways are planned at least twice a year to special destinations.
The society has grown from it’s beginnings of two people with two antique fire trucks, to an organization of about 300 members, and growing !
The Society strives to not only welcome, but actively seek new members, and welcomes anyone with an interest in the history of the fire service. You don’t have to own an antique fire truck to be a member.