Portland Veteran Firemen's Association
The Portland Fire Museum, 157
Spring St, is operated by the Portland Veteran Firemen's Association (PVFA). The
PFVA has as much history as the building where the museum is located. Currently
the PVFA has 20 active members consisting of retired and current Portland
Firefighters. The history below was written by Don Whitney, a Retired Portland
Firefighter, who has written three books on Portland's Fire History.
On June 12th, 1872, a group of
fireman from Steam Fire Engine 3, the Portland Fire Department, departed their
Brackett Street Engine House and struck out for a day of games, food, contests
and fire stories. Fire stories that would make any fish story pale. The outing
was a huge success and continued for years. Known as the June 12th Association.
It grew to include members of other fire departments and retired fireman. It was
rather loosely organized but always well done.
This band of firemen, both active
and retired, organized themselves on November 19, 1891, into the Portland
Veteran's Firemen's Association. Meeting first in an office building downtown,
they obtained the former quarters of Casco Engine 1 at 19 South Street, for
their meetings, suppers and a modest collection of fire related art and
The club swelled to over four hundred members who met weekly and held
regular drills with the 1848 hand engine Atlantic 2 which the fire department
had presented to them. Not a parade was scheduled in the city without the
members of the PVFA in full regalia, uniform, helmets, speaking trumpets, hand
engine, hose reel, and marching band in attendance. Yes they had their own band.
As the nineteenth century closed
and the twentieth century progressed, the PVFA continued their musters, parades,
and through donations, their collection broadened. These men who fought fires in
the days of hand tubs, then steam engines, then motorized apparatus. They were
attracted to the life of a firefighter and enjoyed the camaraderie.
19 South Street was in the way of
the construction of the Spring Street Arterial in the early seventies which
caused the move to a new address. The members agreed with the city of Portland
to accept the former fire quarters of Engine 4 at 157 Spring St, and the
collection was moved to the present location. Up until then, for eight three
years, the firemen's vestige was under played.
With the new house, the
collection was displayed under the banner of the Portland Fire Museum. Displays
are continually being changed and improved and cosmetic improvements to the
interior of the building to present this world class fire museum in the best
What is in the museum?
The Portland Fire Museum in
actually the PVFA collection which has been accrued over the last one
hundred-eleven years. Firefighters, preserving their past.