WILLIAMSTOWN -- A unique piece of local history was recently uncovered in a barn on Green River Road.
On Tuesday, fire fighters gathered at the home of Maurice Miller to view the J.B. Gale Hose No. 2, an original hand-drawn hose cart of the Williamstown Fire Department, circa 1885. Also found on the property was a hand-drawn chemical extinguisher.
"Not many companies can brag that they have something like this," Historian Michael Miller said. "It was the first piece of equipment and here we are 125 years later, and here it is."
"It's been here as long as I've been here," Filler said. "I took over the property in 1965."
Miller explained the cart most likely was a donation to Mount Hope Farm.
"The Williamstown Fire Department, the Gale Hose Company, became mechanized in about 1915, and these became obsolete," he explained.
Around that time, Col. E.P. Prentice was developing Mount Hope Farm on Green River Road, he said.
"I'm just guessing that Gale Hose donated it to him because there was no further use to the town."
Miller estimated the extinguisher was purchased sometime in the late 1910's -- an article appearing in the Transcript mentioned a demonstration of a large fire extinguisher at a general store in Williamstown, he said.
Records show the fire company purchased two hose carts, Miller said.
"It makes you wonder if it's in another barn somewhere," Fire Chief Craig Pedercini said.
When officials were examining both pieces on Tuesday, they found that written underneath the extinguisher is the directions for use. The instructions call for a mixture of 20 pounds of bicarbonate of soda and six pounds of sulfuric acid.
"How times have changed," Former Fire Chief Ed McGowan told fellow fire fighters. The department had to clean up and dispose of sulfuric acid after a truck accident at the intersection of Cold Spring Road and the Taconic Trail in June 2011, he noted.
Officials also noted the painstaking detail taken on the hose cart. Each spoke featured two-tone wheels, with an intricate design.
Officials were unsure about the function of a pulley on the rear of the cart.
"I'm wondering if it's some kind of winch," Pedercini said. "Probably if you had to pull it up a steep terrain, you had a bunch of guys grabbing onto the rope."
Prudential Committee member John Notsley said Gale Hose members are now exploring the options for restoring the cart.
"Think twice before you repaint it," Filler advised. "Sometimes, it loses that feeling of being an old antique."
"What we ought to do is clean it up first and see what it looks like," McGowan said. "There's a couple of cobwebs here and there."
To reach Edward Damon, email email@example.com.