Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jesse Murphy

Voting open for 1910 fire cart


October 5, 2017

Photo Courtesy of Niwot Historical Society The 1910 galvanized steel fire cart is up for online voting to become part of a statewide network of historical artificacts.

Voting is now open for Colorado’s 2017 Significant Artifacts contest, and the Niwot Historical Society has another item on the list this year.

Kathy Koehler said that this is just the second year the society has been nominated and selected for the voting. Last year was the blacksmith door burned with various cattle brands.

“To us it is precious because we have not been in this contest except for the last few years because no one had entered any Niwot artifacts in it until last year with the blacksmith doors,” Koehler said. “Now we have this year with the fire cart, so to us, it’s pretty special.”

The cart is made of galvanized steel with cast iron yokes that are clamped around the top and middle of the tank. The wheels are just over four feet in diameter and is designed to be pulled by hand instead of draft animals.

There is a panel on the front that reads it is a “Buffalo No. 21 Soda and Acid Chemical Fire Engine” that was made in Buffalo, New York.

Koehler said that her family came to Boulder County before 1870, so she has always had an interest in what it took to survive in the area without modern amenities.

“I think it’s pretty amazing — the things that the pioneers did and made available to all of us,” Koehler said. “So remembering and learning about all of these things is very important.”

She pointed out that even in the 1970’s, Niwot still had dirt streets and hitching posts.

“The people who move here today don’t realize that it wasn’t that long ago that Niwot didn’t have paved streets,” Koehler said. “The major growth didn’t start until the late 70’s or early 80’s.”

Her hope is not only that people will get online to vote, but that more interest will be drawn to the history of the area.

“Everyone has their own interests,” Koehler said. “It would be nice if the historical aspect of the community became more important and citizens become more aware of it.

“I applaud our ancestors for taking pride in the new business and residential district they were building on the east side of the railroad tracks in the early 1900s. And they stepped up in being responsible to protect their investments as best they could from fire by purchasing the Fire Cart for everyone in the community. Buildings and houses were close together and if one went up in flames it could quickly wipe out the entire town.”

To vote, visit collectioncare.auraria.edu/content/niwots-1910-fire-cart and click “vote.” From there, choose 1910 the galvanized steel fire cart and hit submit. Voting is open until November 17, and users can vote once daily.

“The Niwot community is unique today much in the way our ancestors and Niwot pioneers supported each other,” Koehler said. “In the 1970s the community annually supported our volunteer fire fighters at the chili supper. When Niwot needed to purchase road signs a few years ago to be able to afford community parades, the NCA organized donations from other Niwot organizations and purchased the proper equipment.

“We are fortunate to live in a special community that supports each other today just as our pioneers supported each others’ property by investing in the Fire Cart for town protection from fires in 1910, 107 years ago.”


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