The Fire Museum of Texas is located in Beaumont. It was originally opened as the Beaumont Fire Department Historical Museum in 1984. Housed in the Beaumont Fire Department’s 1927 Central Fire Station, the two-story, seven-bay station was recognized by the Texas Historical Commission as a historical landmark in 1983.
Outside the museum is the World’s Largest Working Fire Hydrant. At the time of construction it was the World’s Largest Fire Hydrant. Since then there have been 2 other larger fire hydrants built. So, while Beaumont may no longer hold the title of world’s largest fire hydrant, it does work. The name was revamped to the World’s Largest Working Fire Hydrant.
In 1999, to endorse its re-release of the cartoon classic 101 Dalmatians, Walt Disney’s Home Video division chose to build the World’s Largest Fire Hydrant at Disney Land (California). In a competition of 300 U.S. museums for the movie promotion site, the City of Beaumont was selected as the winner and permanent home. It was dedicated on March 9, 1999.
It’s 24 feet tall, weighs 4,500 pounds and is capable of blasting 1,500 gallons of water per minute. Constructed using fiberglass and re-enforced with 1,000 feet of steel, the Dalmatian spots are actually copyrighted by Walt Disney.
While donations are happily accepted, the museum is free. It’s packed with one of the most comprehensive collections of fire service apparatus and artifacts in the United States. Exhibits range from bucket brigades, to 19th century hand pumpers and steam engines, to motorized apparatus of the 20th century.
This 1931 REO Search Light Truck, the first ever constructed in the United States, was designed and built by Beaumont firefighters in this building.
The Gamewell Call Box Alarm System was used before there were telephones!
1856 Howe hand-drawn tub pumper:
The “kids” get to sit behind the wheel of a real fire engine:
Mark behind the wheel.
1909 Arial Ladder Truck:
Communications has changed probably more than any other aspect of the fire department in the past 135 years. From bells to the Gamewell system to a fully computerized dispatch department. The museum has a lot of interesting displays showcasing the different communications systems.
There are lots of different fire extinguishers displayed:
The building is very large and holds many fire engines:
This is a very interesting museum with a lot of more displays than I've shown.
Before leaving we had a little fun with the fireman’s cut-out.