Can you imagine touring through a museum and hearing what the dinosaurs were really like? Or what it was like to fight in the Revolutionary War? While we can't boast those credentials, we can offer up something pretty close: Most of our docents were on-the-job LA Firefighters and they are here to tell the tale.
The photo to the right highlights four of our longest-serving volunteers and docents. From the left, Captain Jim Finn (ret) served the LAFD for more than 40 years, retiring just this past month. Benny Holder, also a former Captain, has a wealth of knowledge about the history of the department, even from its earliest years. Bill Dahlquist, our former curator, was a Boat Pilot in the L.A. Harbor, and was lucky enough to serve on the longest-ever in-service piece of firefighting apparatus, Old Fireboat No. 2, the Ralph J. Scott. And finally, Don Dodd, a fireman his entire adult life, comes from a storied family. His great grandfather, Samuel Dodd, was one of the earliest heros of the LAFD, creating the LAFD Firefighting College, perhaps the first truly organized fire preventation, tactics and strategy education center in the country. Together, these four individuals served the LAFD for more years than it has been in existence.
And, there are other former firefighters with stories to tell. Retired Assistant Chief Frank W. Borden fought the Bel Air fire, was involved in a series of major incidents during the course of his career, and was the co-Founder of the Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) program. Today, there are literally thousands of CERT teams around the United States.
So, if you're interested in the history of fire in Los Angeles, there's no better place to come and learn than Historic Fire Station 27 in Hollywood or Old Fire Station 36 in the Harbor. We have guys who can tell you how dramatic the Sansinena fire and explosion was, how hot and smoky the L.A. Library fire was, what it was like to serve with Chief Don Anthony, in the Harbor, the Valley, Hollywood, or Skid Row. We have history on nearly any topic you can think of. We even have some horses for you to admire.
Living History at the LAFD Historical Society. We've got lots of it.