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Nevada Historical Society presents High Noon with Neal Cobb: Finding and Restoring Part of the Reno Fire Department's Past
High Noon with Neal Cobb is a wonderful history series that delves into fascinating Nevada topics with local experts. Neal Cobb is a passionate historian and honorary curator for the Nevada Historical Society. He loves all things Nevada. Join Neal Cobb and our monthly speakers as we explore interesting topics and join in the audience conversations.
Speaker: Jon D. Wagner
Title: Finding and Restoring Part of the Reno Fire Department's Past
Jon has been a Reno resident since October 1978. Moving to Reno from Miami, FL where he was born and raised. Jon first became interested in historic preservation reading about the salvaging of wrecked Spanish galleons in National Geographic magazine. Jon was an avid snorkeler and SCUBA diver from a young age.
After Jon moved to Reno, he started working for the NV Division of Forestry in October of 1979. He helped build the NDF Verdi Fire Station that was located on Garson Rd. At 8:00 am on Jan. 21, 1985 Jon started work as a recruit in the Training Academy at the Reno Fire Department. Earlier that morning, the Galaxy Airliner crashed on South Virginia St. after taking off from the Reno airport.
In April 2006 Jon and a group of Reno Firefighters found out about an ex-Reno FD 1917 American Lafrance tractor drawn aerial fire ladder truck for sale in the SFO Bay area. After a couple of trips to see the 1917 ALF arrangements were made to purchase it and bring it back to Reno. The tractor and trailer had been disconnected in 1950. The tractor being used in local parades up until about 1980 and then stored in a 3-sided shed. The trailer was parked beside a fence in an orchard and sat outside for 56 years. Trees had grown up through the trailer frame and had to be cut out to move it. A full frame-off restoration was begun soon after the 1917 arrived in back in Reno. The tractor was completed and back on the road in 2013. Next we started on the trailer. In 2016 the trailer frame, running boards and tool basket were complete and the tractor and trailer were connected together for the first time since 1950. In 2017 the ground ladder racks were added to the trailer along with ground ladders. In 2018 we started work on the aerial mechanism and the reproduction of the 85’ two section wood aerial ladder. In 2019 the aerial mechanism and the wood aerial ladder were added to the trailer. In 2020 the gold leaf decoration and pin striping were applied to the trailer and aerial ladder. The 1917 ALF is now 95% complete with only a few details remaining incomplete along with some tools and equipment.
The restoration process was extensively documented with photographs. This program will take you through all the steps in this 15 year restoration process.
- Thursday, August 19, 2021
- 12:00pm - 1:00pm