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Wednesday, 18 December 2013 19:06

NC’s Sandhills Community College Students Help in Restoring ‘Annabelle’, Pinehurst’s 1937 Fire Engine

In March 2010, Jamie Boles and his son Glenn went to the Rowan County town of Landis in order to meet with a collector of antique fire and ambulance equipment. The collector had purchased an old firetruck in 1981 from an antiques dealer in Carthage, who had purchased it from a farmer who used it to water his crops. Sure enough, the firetruck was the very same one the village of Pinehurst purchased in 1937 from the Seagrave Company of Columbus, Ohio. They had found “Annabelle.”

As the second motorized fire engine purchased by Pinehurst, Engine One proudly served the village from 1937 until it was sold to the farmer in 1973. Of course, Boles thought, this fire engine needed to be returned to the village—it was part of the rich history, the heritage and the traditions of Pinehurst and the Pinehurst Fire Department. Boles set the wheels in motion for the truck to begin its relocation back home.

Knowing that Sandhills Community College has a collision repair and refinishing technology program, and thinking that this could be an interesting project for students in the program, Larry Harter, of the Sandhills Chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America, put Pinehurst Fire Chief Carlton Cole in touch with SCC’s automotive technology department chair Alex Cameron.

“We had no room for an entire firetruck in our facilities,” said Frank Evans, coordinator of the collision repair and refinishing department. “But we wanted to be involved.

“I thought this could prove to be a fantastic learning experience for our students, plus it allowed them to participate in a unique project that touches their community. We decided to restore in it pieces, allowing our students in our painting and refinishing, special finishes and non-structural damage classes work on the firetruck.”

Each semester, different portions of the truck were brought to Sirotek Hall as students learned about repair and refinishing.

Other members of the community and members of the Pinehurst Fire Department were busy restoring chrome, gold leaf lettering and striping on the truck per exact factory specifications. There were mechanical repairs, and some had the task of tracking down or restoring items like ladders, bells, nozzles, extinguishers, wood decking and many other details of Annabelle.

After two years, the refurbishing of Engine One is now complete.

Annabelle hearkens back to a much simpler time. In 1904, the resort village of Pinehurst formed a volunteer fire department. Hose Company Number One had hand-drawn hose carts housed in the Pinehurst Resort’s laundry building.

In 1930, the department needed to centralize the fire suppression equipment, so it moved to the first designated location on Community Road. A 1925 American-LaFrance Brockway Torpedo triple combination pumper chemical and hose motor car was the first motorized apparatus.

In 1937, Annabelle was brought to the station. There she lived until she was sold to the farmer in 1973 to be used as irrigation equipment.

Pinehurst constructed the village government complex on Magnolia Road in 2001, where the Fire Department is now located.

And how did this fire engine get the name Annabelle?

“We are very creative here at the fire station,” said Deputy Fire Chief Floyd Fritz. Tuns out the truck has a siren and a bell. So, naturally, “Annabelle.”

The restored fire engine will now be used for public education projects, exhibits, at civic events and in parades. There are still a few details of the truck to renew and replace, but for the most part, she is complete.
When Annabelle passes and sounds her sirens and horns in local parades, many in the community can smile with pride knowing they had a hand in the restoration.


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