Delphos Fire Truck Museum needs a makeover

DELPHOS — The Gramm fire truck has had various owners, but it has never left the city of Delphos. Built in 1927 and used in the city’s fire service until 1950, the fire truck was sold to Sheeter Motor Sales. Floyd Hiegel next purchased the fire truck to be used at the Delphos Soya Company for fire protection. During its time with Hiegel, the truck was fully overhauled. When Hielgel’s company was bought by Central Soya, the truck was part of the property transferred. Finally in 1968, the Jaycees acquired the truck when Central Soya donated it to them.

The Delphos Jaycees developed the idea of the Fire Truck Museum in 1969. Fundraisers were held and it was in September of 1973 that the Jaycees approached Delphos city officials looking for a location for the museum. The city approved a building at the south end of the Canal Parking Lot. The fire truck was brought in and a building was built around the truck, completed the first week of August 1973.

Later that month, a mural was painted of the back of the building by a group called Public Works from Yellow Springs, Ohio and was funded by a grant from the Federal Endowment for the Arts. The mural deteriorated and was replaced in 1987 by Sylvia Weisenberg.

Now thirty-five years after the second mural, the Delphos Fire Museum is in need of refurbishing. There are a number of items in desperate need of repair. Once again citizens are stepping up who care for the museum and the history that it represents. Michael Mesker and Bob Ebbeskotte spear head a committee to bring the museum back to its glorious splendor.

The museum represents over 150 years of Delphos history. It was May 3, 1872 — a day that was later labeled “Black Friday” — when a fire swept through Delphos. Citizens chose not to be in a helpless position should another fiery conflagration occur, and the event marked the beginning of fire prevention in Delphos. That history needs preserved.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis once said, “If we don’t care about our past, we cannot hope for our future.”

Preservation is a shared task. Don Kramer with Vintage Auto Collision, instructor Dan Edwards, and students Sonya Roeder, Maggie Cox, and Ian Clevenger have donated to this date four hours working to make repairs on the Gramm Fire Engine. The Delphos Fire Museum restoration will be a team effort. Monetary donations are welcome. Labor and materials are also welcomed. To make a monetary donation, send money to Fire Truck, PO Box 112,Delphos, Oh 45833. To donate time or materials or to bid on a repair, contact Michael Mesker at 419-303-4418 or Bob Ebbeskotte at 419-692-0752.

To stay abreast of the progress on this historic preservation project visit the Facebook page at Delphos Fire Truck Museum.

Dean Brown joined The Lima News in 2022 as a reporter. Prior to The Lima News, Brown was an English teacher in Allen County for 38 years, with stops at Perry, Shawnee, Spencerville and Heir Force Community School. So they figured he could throw a few sentences together about education and business in the area. An award-winning photographer, Brown likes watching old black and white movies, his dog, his wife and kids, and the four grandkids - not necessarily in that order. Reach him at [email protected] or 567-242-0409.