1907 - 2015: 108 Years of Care
The Association of the Oldest Inhabitants of the District of Columbia (AOI) since 1907 has had in its care a number of pieces of fire apparatus and two bronze bells that were once the holdings of the Veteran Volunteer Fireman’s Association (VVFA). When the membership of the VVFA became such they no longer qualified as a D.C. organization, the remaining members joined the AOI so their records, history, memorabilia and historic headquarters would survive. During the intervening 108 years, the AOI served as custodian for this collection. Many items were donated to the Smithsonian Institution, the Columbia Historical Society (now Historical Society of Washington, D.C.), the Navy Museum and other entities.
The four pieces of fire apparatus and the two bronze bells (described below) needed to be turned over to the Friendship Fire Association Museum (FFAM) where they could be properly maintained, displayed and preserved. Two of the four pieces of apparatus and the bells were part of the VVFA when they joined the AOI. The 3rd and 4th pieces of apparatus, a 1909 Robinson Chief’s Buggy and a 1905 American La France steam pumper, were deeded to the AOI by the District of Columbia Commissioners in 1922 and 1933, respectively, when the apparatus were condemned. The Friendship Fire Association Museum is the official historic archive and museum of the District of Columbia Fire & Emergency Medical Services (DCFEMS) and is the appropriate repository for these historic artifacts.
The membership of the AOI, after receiving proper notification, voted unanimously on April 17, 2015, approving a resolution to transfer the above-described items to the Friendship Fire Association Museum.
The Friendship Fire Association Museum is the official museum of the
DC Fire & Emergency Medical Services
Engine Company No. 3
439 New Jersey Avenue, NW
District of Columbia 20005
Operated by the Friendship Fire Association the museum, located on the 3rd floor of Engine 3 is open to the public. Call (202) 673-1709 for current hours.
To learn more about the history of the DC Fire Department (now DC FEMS), click here: DC FEMS History
Help the Friendship Fire Association Museum Conserve and Cosmetically Restore their 1905 American LaFrance Steam Pumper
For 107 years the AOI of DC preserved the remaining artifacts entrusted to their care in 1908 as a result of the AOI's endearing partnership with the remaining members of the Veteran Volunteer Firemen's Association of D.C. Among the several pieces of apparatus, two fire bells and a Chief Engineer Buggy (see photo album below) was the 1905 American LaFrance horse-drawn steam pumper. The FFA Museum is now seeking donations to cosmetically restore this piece of DC History in time for the centennial observance of the last running of the DC's fire horses.
The AOI of DC encourages its members and friends to help support this worthwhile effort, begun by our past member and Fire Department Liaison Officer Lt. Jim Embrey and donate in his memory.
The Friendship Fire Association is currently in the process of having our 1905 American LaFrance Steamer Engine, which served as Engine 18 in the district, cosmetically preserved. In order to complete this project, we have kicked off a major fundraising campaign. The goal is to have the Steamer completed and returned to DC where it will be pulled by horses on or about June 15, 2025 to commemorate the 100th Anniversary Last Run of The Horses which occurred on June 15, 1925. The steamer is also significant because it is the last horse drawn apparatus the Department used in regular service. It should be noted that this idea was from Past President & Retired DCFEMS Lt. James Embry, who passed away in January of 2022. We are moving on with this project in his honor. Please consider a donation to this historical project. Click the website link listed below or use the QR code in the digital flyer to donate.