The Old Superior Firehouse is one of three public museums along with the Fairlawn Mansion and the S. S. Meteor. | Video by Andrew Mathews
Editor’s Note: The COMM 304 Digital Storytelling and Social Media went to the Old Firehouse and Police Museum to work on multiple multimedia projects. More of those projects will be up on our website.
Chelsea Sobtzak | email@example.com
The Old Firehouse and Police Museum holds a lot of memories from the past century of firefighters, police officers, and the guests that come through the museum. The museum also holds various memorabilia contributing to those memories and tells stories from the very beginning of firefighting.
The equipment ranges from the first and oldest piece of equipment which is a buggy and cutter sleigh hauled by horses that was used in 1910 to the newest piece of equipment called “The Mack” which is from 1944.
The Mack got repaired in mid-November by Superior Fire Fighter (SFD) Mechanic, Jason King and retired Captain Chris Opheim from Superior Firefighters Local 47 which was highlighted on their Facebook page of the Mack being towed for repairs.
According to Megan Meyer, the executive director of Superior Public Museums, “it has been 10 years since it last ran.”
“The fuel pump was leaking gas internally and needed to be fixed. However, finding available parts was a large issue,” said King. King rebuilt the fuel pump from parts found online and other commercial parts that were similar. “The brakes and batteries were also replaced,” King also added. “It was cool to work on something like that and made me think about the past firemen and mechanics that worked on it before me. They built things to last back then.”
After the needed repairs, a video can be seen of the Mack being driven out of SFD headquarters and back to the museum also on Superior Firefighters Local 47’s Facebook page. “The Mack will now be used in parades now that it is up and running again,” said Meyer.
The Old Firehouse and Police Museum also just recently got added to the local registry for historical recognition in early November alongside the other two Superior Museums, the SS Meteor and Fairlawn Mansion.
Katelyn Baumann, the president of the board of directors of the Superior Public Museums said, “this is the first step in getting it state recognition which would offer the museum to be eligible for more grants for the upkeep of the building.”
“The museum needs a new roof, and the funding would be a big help,” said Meyer. “The goal for the museum is to end up on historical places for addition funding and grants to help maintain building.”
Tickets for all three Superior Public Museums can be purchased onsite or can be checked out for free at the Superior Public Library.
The SS Meteor and The Old Firehouse and Police Museum are closed for the season but will reopen in the spring.
Ryan Marcyjanik | firstname.lastname@example.org
Superior is home to a multitude of museums; however, one has recently received historical recognition and been added to the local register.
The museum has been around since May 1898 when it used to be a functioning fire house. When speaking about the history of the museum, Superior Public Museums, Museum Coordinator, Megan Meyer said, “This was a working firehouse until October 4, 1982”.
During the open season, which ranges from May to Oct., members of the public can buy tickets to come and tour the museum. Tours can be self-guided, or a guided tour can be scheduled. The price of tickets are 6 dollars for everyone 13 and older, while kids 12 and under get in for free. However, anyone 17 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets are available in person or can be bought online up to a month in advance.
The museum is host to various pieces of memorabilia from firefighters and police over the past decades as well as some displays set up to look like they would have back in the day. Some of these items include fire hose carts, a battery switchboard, a fire-fighting suit made of asbestos, and the newly remodeled captain’s quarters.
When talking about the captain’s quarters and their drive to make displays look realistic, The Superior Public Museums Board of Directors Chair, Katelyn Baumann said, “Over the pandemic we redid the captain’s quarters and made it look how it would have looked back in the day”.
When asked if more police memorabilia and displays will be added, Meyer said, “In the future this room will display a police exhibit,” while talking about the kitchen of the firehouse.
Adam DeMuth | email@example.com
However, dated the equipment may seem today, it was undoubtedly a step up in efficiency compared to the emergency notification system employed in Superior prior to the 911 system.
The Gamewell alarm box is another feature of the museum, located on several streets throughout the city of Superior, residents would find the Gamewell box and pull the switch in cases of severe emergencies. “The bell will ring six times, pause, ring once to start over, and then repeat the pattern again,” said Meyer. “The number of times the bell rings tells the firefighters the location of the box.”
It’s difficult to describe the amount of historical information the Old Superior Firehouse and Police Museum houses. Not only does the museum provide an excellent service in maintaining a rich history of the community’s fire and police history, it tells countless stories of the people who saved so many lives in the Twin Ports area.
The Old Superior Firehouse & Police Museum was built in 1898. | Video by Billy Krieg