Posted on: March 22, 2013
Aren’t most of us in awe of firefighters? They are truly heroes who often risk life and limb in the service of others. But how much thought do we give the equipment that is a crucial component in the huge task of extinguishing fires? A recent trip to The Hall of Flame certainly sparked my interest in the history of firefighting equipment and rekindled my admiration of the brave people who put themselves in peril to save lives and property.
Originally opened by George F. Getz, Jr. in Illinois in 1961, the Hall of Flame moved to Phoenix, along with the Getz family, in 1972. Now the Hall of Flame resides in Papago Park in an inconspicuous building that, from the outside, looks more like a large storage warehouse than a museum. Don’t be fooled by the unassuming exterior. Dismiss any preconceived ideas you might have about what a museum should look like and venture inside to discover 35,000 square feet containing six galleries full of fascinating firefighting history. The exhibits are lovingly maintained by 25 proud and dedicated volunteers who are active and retired fire fighters or spouses of firefighters.
You would expect to find such a grand collection of firefighting paraphernalia and memorabilia in an older, larger city like New York City, Chicago or Boston. But, how great it is (and maybe a little surprising) to have this remarkable collection in Papago Park. There’s a lot to see, so plan on spending some time and wear comfortable shoes. Thirty-five thousand square feet, almost an acre, is a lot of ground to cover. Here are a few highlights:
The Hall of Flame is located at 6101 E. Van Buren St. and is open seven days a week. You can enjoy the exhibits on your own or request a guided tour. The knowledgeable volunteers are always eager to give tours and are sometimes available without advance notice. However, it’s a good idea to call ahead to arrange for a guide. For more information, visit http://www.hallofflame.org/
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