Vintage Photo of Raleigh’s Old Tiller

Here’s a vintage picture that I don’t believe we’ve shared before. Truck 1 at Station 2 at Memorial Auditorium. That’s the original tiller with its new cab, a 1939 ALF cab towing a 1916 ALF trailer. Two-section, crank-operated, wooden aerial ladder.

Aerial Ladder Truck 1 was originally cross-staffed with the service ladder truck, a 1922 ALF. Both were housed at the original Station 1 on West Morgan Street.

When that station closed in 1941, the ladder trucks were moved to Station 2 at Memorial Auditorium, because they couldn’t fit into the new temporary Station 1, at old Station 2 on South Salisbury Street. Follow?

Engine 2 was then displaced to the new temporary Station 1 and, in fact, Mr. Blogger theorizes, thus began the tradition of having two engines at Station 1. Thinking that the double engines “got good” to the chiefs, and they continued the concept.

When Station 6 opened on Fairview Road in 1949–the permanent one, not the original rented building opened in 1943 and closed in 1948–the service ladder truck was moved there. Engine 2 was moved back to Memorial. And the ladder stayed there until the current Station 1 opened on South Dawson Street in 1953. Got it? Good, there will be a quiz.

Side note, the Engine 2 movement is still partially speculated. Haven’t found supporting docs, like original log books. Just based on photos and inferences.

As for the photo, it’s courtesy Charles Watson. His father is one of the Masons in the picture, Elwin Watson from Kenly, NC.


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