Selected Essays – Family

Family Essays title

The New Firetruck (part 4)

The New Firetruck – 1922
Dennis C. Orvis

Pictured behind the wheel in both pictures is George William Waltemate, the driver and my Grandfather of Waverly, Iowa. With him are the officers and firemen of a proud volunteer fire department.

The occasion was the introduction of the first new firetruck, a 1922 American LaFrance type 39, Pumper Engine. The purchase of this new engine was very exciting for this small Iowa town as New York City was also buying a new American LaFrance engine as well. These picture post cards were found in old family photos. They were taken in front of the 1911 City Hall. Notice the steering wheel is on the wrong (or left) side of the truck. Also note the interesting tires in the frontal picture.

The names of the firemen (large group picture) standing L-R: W.F. Hoffman, Herman Leusenhop, Wes Hanmon, Jack Vogt, Lynn Bogan, Carl Reichart, Henry Pfeffer, Frank Dana, Ed Swensen, Bill Dempsey, Martell Beebe, Otto Bredow and F.A. Lavell. 2nd Row: Leo Mooney, George Waltemate (driver), Theodore Shaffer, Fred Ownes, Claence Swensen, “Butch” Helmicke, unknown, unknown, and Ralph Dean. Standing in the Rear: Elmer Anderson, George Stephens, Oliver Spencer and John Flugga.

Although some names are familiar to me, I knew Leo Mooney and Martell Beebe very well. Their sons, Jim Mooney and Dick Beebe were childhood and school buddies in my early years.

Imagine! The small town of Waverly, Iowa matching the great New York City…buying matching American LaFrance fire engines! Wow!

The New Firetruck 1