North Kingstown Fire Department – North Kingstown, Rhode Island
The Washington #1 Hand Pumper, presently owned by the North Kingstown, R.I. Fire Department, had several owners after the Town of Milford purchased it in 1874. It was sold to the Wickford Fire District in 1885 and stayed with them until 1912 when the town of North Kingstown, R.I. took over ownership and it remained in service until 1917. At some point in its early life it was hidden in the South County Museum so it would not be scrapped for its metal.
In the 1960s a group of men decided to restore the Washington back to its original condition. It was totally disassembled, and all the pieces were sent out to be refurbished or repaired. When the repairs were completed, they joined the New England Veteran Firemen’s Association league and started going to musters in the New England area.
Washington #1 attended over 130 musters and won many 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards. Its best stream was 244 ft -10 ½ inches. This unit won the N.E. League Championship three times - 1921-1963-1965. In the early 1980s a lean-to barn was built to start restoring the tub again; however not much was done on the Washington at this time.
Once again in 2008 it made another trip back to the Firemen’s Club and restoration was started again. The wheels were shipped to a Pennsylvania Amish shop to be restored. Once the wheels were returned and placed back on the Washington #1, it moved to Station 6 in Quonset. The Washington was then restored in 2017 in preparation for the 150th anniversary of the Fire Department. The restoration was for parade purposes only and at this time had not had its pumping capabilities restored.
The Society for the Preservation and Appreciation of Antique Motor Fire Apparatus in America (SPAAMFAA) is an organization of people dedicated to the preservation, restoration, and operation of antique fire apparatus.