Firemen’s museum opens this weekend

The Comstock Firemen’s Museum, 125 S. C St. in Virginia City will begin its season Saturday with new exhibits, including forms of lighting used by early firefighters and a circa 1861 toolbox.

The featured toolbox, dating back to Nevada’s first engine company, includes items commonly used by early firefighters such as nozzle tips, cast iron hose jackets, spanner wrenches, wooden mallets, rope, canvas salvage bags and other tools. Also featured are two styles of wristlet lanterns used by chief officers and company officers, a circa 1870 apparatus lamp, an apparatus lamp from the turn of the century, a patent Dietz lantern and mounting bracket dating back to 1904.

The museum displays hand-pumped and steam powered fire engines and hose carriages from 1839 to 1880. Other displayed items include brass and nickel working and silver presentation trumpets, uniform shirts, belts and helmets used by firefighters in Virginia City, Gold Hill and other Nevada communities. Antique cast iron and other fire toys, photographs and artifacts from the 19th and early 20th centuries are included in the exhibit.

The Comstock Firemen’s Museum is housed in a small masonry building built around 1862. During the Civil War, the building served as Hammel’s Original Saloon and served a dual purpose as an army recruiting office. Throughout its life, the building has served as a market, beer garden, saloon, store, and housed Virginia City’s fire department from 1930 to 1961.

Admission is free, but the museum welcomes donations. The museum is open through October from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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