The SOHS Library is OPEN to the public at 106 N. Central Avenue in Medford, with FREE access to the SOHS Archives, from 12:00 - 4:00 pm, Tuesday through Saturday. Appointments are not necessary. Please contact, or call 541-622-2025 ex 200 to ask questions or request research.


SOHS Fire Engine

Welcome to SOHS's account of our Amphibious Fire Engine. It provides the history of the fire engine, and the SOHS all-volunteer effort to restore the fire engine so it can ride again!  Please use this link to view photos of the restoration process. 
SOHS fire engine logo SOHS's Amphibious Fire Engine

The Southern Oregon Historical Society’s “amphibious” fire engine was ordered new by the City of Ashland early in 1946, but with postwar shortages, delivery took nearly a year. The Ford truck chassis was converted to a fire pumper by the Howard Cooper Company at their Portland factory. It then served Ashland for nearly thirty years before being sold as surplus to a private party. The fire engine acquired its unusual nickname during a flood in January of 1948. Firefighters placed the engine on the bridge at the entrance to Lithia Park. While they were preparing to pump out the basement of… more

Jacksonville Christmas Parade 2021 Jacksonville Christmas Parade

Jan 12 2022 - 5:49am, Ben Truwe

A few months ago, organizers at Jacksonville e-mailed to ask if the Amphibious Fire Engine could perform as Santa Claus' sleigh in their Christmas parade. This makes two years in a row. It could become a tradition.


            The Jacksonville Christmas parade kicks off the shopping season each first Saturday in December, and it's the easiest event we do. On most events we like to have a follow vehicle in case anything goes wrong, but since Jacksonville is less than two… more

Fire engine at Concurs d'Elegance Gathering at the Oaks Car Show

Out of the blue a few weeks ago I received a phone call from Kirk Gerbracht, one of the organizers of the Gathering at the Oaks car show. He invited us to bring the SOHS Amphibious Fire Engine to his third annual event on September 12. The show takes place on the lawn at the Rogue Valley Country Club.

            It seemed a slightly odd invitation--our 73-year-old paint job isn't exactly show quality, especially on the hood, where generations of raccoons raised their broods--but it was a rare opportunity to get the fire engine… more

Fire engine in parade Pear Blossom Parade Saga

Apr 15 2019 - 7:56am, Ben Truwe

Thanks to SOHS's intrepid, persistent volunteers, the Amphibious Fire Engine was in the Pear Blossom Parade in 2019. Here is their story, as told by Ben Truwe (photos provided by Doug McGeary):

Our grand plan for participation in this year's parade was to meet at Hanley farm around 9:00 Saturday morning. Simple. But when we tried it we all found our way blocked by police and hundreds of Pear Blossom Run participants.

(Note to self: Pick up the fire engine at dawn next year.)

My attempts to get through or even to find a… more

First Place Prize First Prize in the Ashland Parade!

Jul 6 2018 - 10:57am

SOHS's fire engine won First Price for Vehicles in the Ashland Parade! The fire engine's first appearance in Ashland in forty years marks the end of yet another phase in its life and the beginning of a new one. Thanks to Alice Mullaly and Doug McGeary for carrying SOHS's banner to assure that people understand SOHS is responsible for saving this piece of history and making it operational again.

The parade was a success. Thousands of people were exposed to the fact that SOHS still exists, and that SOHS is aware that Ashland exists. Now we need to… more

Fire engine ladder Steering Gear, Ladder, Instruments, and Headlights

Joe Davis and Dave Delmue of Morgan Hill, California are the heroes of the week

Jun 23 2018 - 12:08pm

Our regular Tuesday work session saw us not at the usual garage but at Joe Davis' shop scratching our heads over the steering gear. Joe manufactures mufflers for Model A Fords right here in Medford, on West Jackson.

The steering gear parts had arrived, but Joe and Jim Martin figured out that the root problem--that destroyed our steering gears forty years ago--concerned a part that we couldn't find:… more

Mike and Nora Trump Water pumps, steering and wires

May 9 2018 - 9:12am, Ben Truwe

Our new water pumps arrived Saturday. Unfortunately, though we received boxes properly labeled for a left-hand and right-hand 1946 Ford water pumps, inside one of the boxes was a 1953 water pump. Oh, joy. The dealer says the replacement should be here next Monday.

We--Phil, Paul and Ben--replaced the right-hand pump without any particular trouble; with luck we'll be able to replace the left-hand pump next Tuesday.

With our remaining time we took a collective deep breath and removed our worn steering gearbox. This was… more

fire engine first visit Amphibious Fire Engine Restoration Project


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Detailed photos of the fire engine prior to restoration