I reached out to Rick Kurish for help researching the old fire truck that used to be located in the playground at Cascade Park. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it easier for Rick by accidentally (and feeblemindedly) telling him it was an old train!
Rick responded, “My family frequented Cascade Park at least once or twice a year from the mid 1950s until the early 1960s, and while I and my brothers were all over the playground, I have no recollection of an actual railroad locomotive in the park.”
Once I informed Rick of my mistake, it didn’t take long for him to remember the fire truck.
“Ah, a fire truck, not a train!” he responded. “Yes, I remember the fire truck. It sat near the building that served as a concession stand. I was never too interested in the fire truck, but my younger brothers spent some time playing on it. I was more into the slides and swings --- especially the corkscrew slide.”
It didn’t take long at all for Rick came through as usual.
“Attached is a neat article from the Chronicle-Telegram of June 8,1956 which details the fire truck that the city of Elyria retired and donated to Cascade Park. The city apparently bought the truck new in 1929. Perhaps your correspondent who played on the truck in the 1960s will find the article interesting.”
Here is the article (below). It reveals that the fire truck was a 1929 Ahrens-Fox. The company was based in Ohio.
I sent the article to Fritz, who was happy to get the information about the fire truck that he remembered so well.
“It's hard to believe that it was put out to pasture in the park with only a couple thousand miles on it,” observed Fritz. “I'm sure it was well-loved and played on by all children who visited Cascade Park. I know by the time I first played on it the fire truck had been there at least 10 yrs. from what your article states from 1956. By then it was becoming well-worn when I first remember climbing upon it.
“I always remember it had that huge brass or chrome ball mounted on the front which I presume was part of the pumping unit. The next question for all is whatever happened to it when it was removed from the park and when? Lets hope it ended up being preserved and restored somewhere. Being a 1929 Ahrens-Fox model, I would think that by today’s standards, it would be quite a collectible model.
“Although I did not live in Elyria, we would go there frequently for summer band concerts, and on Sunday drives for picnics in my dad’s Model A Ford. We would also go there in the winter to go sledding down the hill.
“Thank you so much for searching and finding the information from my memories of the fire truck from 50 or so years ago!”
And thanks to Rick, a little bit of Cascade Park history – retrieved from the Chronicle-Telegram – is available online for others who remember the fire truck from their childhood.