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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Manassas, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Steam Locomotive Tire Fire Alarm – 1909

 
 
Steam Locomotive Tire Fire Alarm Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 10, 2006
1. Steam Locomotive Tire Fire Alarm Marker
Inscription. One of the challenges for volunteer fire departments is how to alert their members to a fire. In July 1909, the Town of Manassas authorized Mr. J. I. Randall, the first town Fire Chief, to purchase three locomotive tires to be suspended in frames in different parts of town to be used as fire alarms. Each alarm was to be furnished with a hammer or other device to strike the tire.

One alarm was located on Center Street by the Town Hall, another was placed on Grant Avenue at the present location of the Piedmont Building, and the third was erected at the intersection of Center Street and West Street. The alarm at the Town Hall on Center Street used a heavy iron suspended on a rope to be swing like a bell clapper. A small section of the tire had to be cut out in order to produce the loud ringing sound that alerted the volunteers.

The railroad tires were eventually replaced by a steam whistle at the power generating plant on Church Street, which was itself later replaced by air raid sirens positioned around town. Today, radio voice pagers that are activated by the Manassas Police Dispatchers alert volunteers. All of these altering systems, except for the steam whistle, are on display at the Fire Department Museum at Fire Station #1 on Centreville Road.

This locomotive tire is not one of the original alarms.

Driving
Steam Locomotive Tire Fire Alarm image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 10, 2006
2. Steam Locomotive Tire Fire Alarm
wheel tires from steam locomotive No. 89 donated 1998 by the Strasburg Rail Road Co., Strasburg, PA.
 
Location. 38° 45.068′ N, 77° 28.235′ W. Marker is in Manassas, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of Center Street (Virginia Route 28) and East Street, on the right when traveling west on Center Street. Touch for map. Marker is on the side of Town Hall between Town Hall and City Hall, near the sidewalk. Marker is at or near this postal address: 9025 Center Street, Manassas VA 20110, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Harry J. Parrish (here, next to this marker); Wartime Manassas (a few steps from this marker); Defenses of Manassas (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Manassas 1906 (about 300 feet away); a different marker also named Wartime Manassas (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Manassas.
 
Categories. 20th CenturyRailroads & Streetcars
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 11, 2006, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,067 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 11, 2006, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.
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