Shop Project

Jun 28th 2023

1901 Castlewood Chemical Fire Cart

Posted by Shop Project on Jun 28th 2023

On August 19, 1901, the Castlewood Volunteer Fire Department in South Dakota was established as a fire and hook and ladder company. Subsequently, a chemical fire cart was acquired as their first firefighting equipment. Unfortunately, this cart fell into a state of disrepair and was left neglected behind the city maintenance building for an extended period. 

   (Photo courtesy of Castlewood Historical Society)

Recognizing its historical significance Jerry Kihl, the fire chief at the time, approached the historical society to inquire about the feasibility of restoring the cart to its original splendor. After careful consideration, the historical society agreed to undertake this momentouse project. 

Consequently, on December 2, 2019, the dilapidated remnants of the cart were entrusted to our establishment, Hansen Wheel & Wagon Shop.

We commenced our evaluation process with the initial components provided, which allowed us to determine what could be utilized and what required rebuilding. Thanks to the original rims and straightened frame, we successfully reconstructed the wooden wheels. Generously donated by Dennis Lindskov from Isabel, SD, the antique tank became a valuable addition to this project. 

An article from the Castlewood Historical Society's January 2021 mailing publication showcases the collaborative efforts of Doug Hansen, Maurice hartmann, Andy Ettswold, Wayne Rasmussen, and Richard Wiarda as they evaluate and strategize the restoration plan. 

The rebuilt wheels, featuring the ordinal rims, have been reattached to the frame, as depicted in the images below. 

Once the tank is affixed to its newly acquired set of wheels, it is securely lowered and fastened to ensure a perfect fit. The second photo showcases the tank and frame during the initial stages of the painting process. 

At this stage, we also incorporated the addition of a basket on top of the tank to house the fire hose. 

The ongoing transformation is a remarkable sight to behold, as the individual parts of the Chemical Fire Cart seamlessly come together, bringing its former glory back to life. The addition of the red paint was eagerly anticipated, as it set the stage for Wayne Troyer to apply his exceptional lettering and striping skills, ultimately completing the cart's stunning appearance.  

When tasked with lettering the curved back of the tank, Wayne effortlessly maintained proper proportions, showcasing his expertise. With Wayne's undeniable talent, the lettering and striping greatly enhanced the overall aesthetic appeal of the Chemical Cart. 

The final outcome is nothing short of impressive, restoring the cart to its original splendor. It is now ready to return home to Castlewood, SD, just in time for its grand unveiling during Castlewood Days!

After a span of nearly two years, Tim Hoffman, the Wheelwright at HWWS, successfully delivered the restored Chemical Cart back to Castlewood, SD, where the enthusiastic patrons of Castlewood eagerly awaited its arrival. The anticipation to showcase this meticulously restored 1901 Chemical Cart during the Castlewood Days event was palpable. 

(Below is a clipping from the Castlewood newsletter) 

On August 11-14th, 2022, the highly anticipated moment came to fruition ast he Chemical Cart made its grand debut, pulled through the Castlewood Days parade. An accompanying article elaborates on the outcome of Castlewood Days and the grand unveiling of the Chemical Cart. 

We consider it an immense privilege to have had the opportunity to contribute to this extraordinary celebration and are eagerly anticipating the lasting presence of the Chemical Cart in Castlewood for many years to come!

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