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When Fire Station No. 4 was constructed in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1867, it was built specifically for horse-drawn fire equipment, complete with stable space on the lower level and a hay loft in the upper levels.
Its first foreman was the future mayor of New Bedford, A.M. Howland, Jr., who led a volunteer force. In 1913, the volunteers became paid staff and the hay loft became a living area.
In 1976, the still-operating fire station opened a local history museum. The museum stayed operational when the station closed in 1979 after 112 years of continuous service. That run made it one of the oldest continuously operating fire stations in the state.
Today, retired and active firefighters act as docents for curious visitors. The museum’s collection includes antique firefighting equipment, such as the original hand pumper used at the station. One of the more exciting aspects of the museum might be the fire pole that visitors can slide down.
Know Before You Go
The museum is open from July 4 until Labor Day. Admission is $3 for adults over 16, $2 for senior citizens, $1 for children from ages 7 to 16, and free for children ages 6 and younger.