Midcoast Lens: Preserving heritage
Camden — On the sunny, crisp afternoon of Tuesday, Sept. 11, Andy Swift of Firefly Restoration in Hope joined Camden firefighters as they devoted the afternoon to cleaning the antique engine displayed at Camden Public Safety Building.
Swift — a nationally known antique fire engine restorer — volunteered his time to assist in performing maintenance on the 1892 horse-drawn steam fire engine. Swift applied linseed oil to the wooden wheels of the engine, commenting it is one of his "favorite" antique engines. He noted the engine still bears original paint.
Fire Chief Chris Farley, Firefly Restoration employee Tom Hopkins and firefighters Cheyne Hansen, Mary Stiehler and Bob Stiehler all worked on various parts of the antique engine. Farley explained the crew rolled the engine out of the glass display case and into a bay at Camden Public Safety Building for the day.
According to a town of Camden historical website, the engine was donated to the Camden fire department in 1892 by the Molyneaux family following the Great Fire that began on Nov. 10, 1892, and destroyed a portion of downtown Camden. It was manufactured by Manchester Locomotive Works in Manchester, N.H., — a company Swift said was one of the finest manufacturers of fire engines at the time — and has spent the last 120 years in the Midcoast region.
Farley and Swift said new lights in the glass case combined with the thorough cleaning should make the engine stand out, particularly at night.
"We're working to preserve some of the the town's heritage," Farley said.
Courier Publications reporter Jenna Lookner can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at email@example.com.