Ongoing Exhibits: Chapel Hill's 1914 Fire Truck

1914 Model T Fire Truck
Chapel Hill's
First Motorized Fire Fighting Equipment

Imagine the days when firefighters had to drive horse-drawn carriages to fires and sling water at the blaze from buckets instead of hoses. Imagine how much more effective, then, to have a motorized fire truck complete with hoses, one that could get you to the fire faster and allow you to spread water further and more powerfully. This is what the 1914 Model T Fire Truck must have meant to Chapel Hill's firemen - it was the town's first motorized fire truck, one of the first in the state, and one of only 7 that Ford produced that year.

The truck cost all of $600 when it was purchased nearly 90 years ago. The town of Chapel Hill contributed $200 towards the cost while the University gave another $200. The Fire Department, which was at the time a nearly all-volunteer operation, was responsible for the final third of the cost. The firemen raised the funds by competing for, and winning, prize money at Fireman's Conventions throughout the South.

Now, the truck lives in retirement at the Chapel Hill Museum.

Chapel Hill's 1914 Fire Truck arrives at the Museum.
(919) 967-1400 / fax (919) 967-6230
523 East Franklin St., Chapel Hill, NC 27514