1922 Fire Apparatus Home at Tamaqua (PA)

A 1922 Seagrave 6WT fire engine that was once capable of pumping 750 gallons of water per minute has returned to the borough of Tamaqua (PA), completing a 1,000-mile, 22-hour journey on a specialized hauling vehicle from Florida.

The fire truck was ordered in 1921 at a cost of $23,000 and arrived at the Tamaqua Citizens Fire Company in 1922.

Police and fire officials sold “containers of beer” off the back of the truck during Prohibition. Borough fire crews proudly displayed the 1922 Seagrave in parades and other events of the day.

In 1959, after almost four decades of assisting firefighters, the 1922 Seagrave, rather than be relegated to the scrap heap, was sold to a collector in Allentown. It would remain there, in a barn, until 1991 when Mike and Debbie Zeak of Ocala (FL) bought the fire engine and began the difficult task of rebuilding it.

The entire truck was completely overhauled inside and out by many people who offered their services.

The restoration was finished in time for a block party back in Tamaqua. Photographs that were taken of the spiffy-looking firetruck hang in the Citizens firehouse and show how it was returned to its original luster and charm for the party and parade.

The firetruck went back to Florida in all its glory and for almost two decades was displayed inside the Antique Auto Museum and Nature Theme Park in Silver Springs, Fla., not far from Ocala. It remained there until the state of Florida decided to merge land by closing the park and selling its assets, one of which was the firetruck.

Since the history of the truck included its many years of service in Tamaqua, the borough historical society was contacted by Florida officials to find out if the borough was interested in buying the truck back. It was.

Tamaqua Historical Society President Dale Freudenberger was told they would have to bid on the truck because three other parties were interested in buying it.

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