About the LAFD Historical Society
The history of the LAFD Historical Society goes back to 1960. On October 13, 1960, Fireman Bob Foster (Truck 17-B) was appointed the department’s official historian by the Fire Commission. Foster dedicated himself to the history of the department and was effective in his position.
In 1981, Acting Chief Engineer Alan R. Evanson created a committee to support the history of the department. Two current members, Don Dodd and William Dahlquist were a part of that committee. The committee evolved into a formal organization, initially named “Olde 23s” based on the belief that the entity would be housed in old Fire Station 23. Early board meetings took place in City Hall East and minutes were delivered to the Chief Engineer, along with suggestions on action to be taken related to committee requirements and action. In 1998, Olde 23s became a non-profit 501(c)3 public charity .
Fast forward to 2001. Fire Station 27, rebuilt following significant earthquake damage, was slated to become a community center. With some dedicated commitment on the part of a number of local officials, historical society members, and LAFD management, the Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Society (renamed from Olde 23s) was given a long-term lease on the building by the city. In the years that followed, the LAFDHS developed an inventory of more than 30 pieces of LA-based firefighting apparatus, thousands of artifacts (some dating back to the 1880s), and hundreds of hours of film and video.
Today, the LAFDHS is home to the Fallen Firefighter Memorial, located in front of Museum 27 in the heart of Hollywood, California. A second regional facility, Museum 36, is based in San Pedro. The organization is also the caretaker of Old Fire Boat No. 2, the Ralph J. Scott, the longest serving piece of apparatus in the city’s history at 77 years.
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