Museum & Historical Society
Milwaukee Fire Historical Society Ltd. (Fire Museum)
Preserving Milwaukee’s fire history
When visiting Milwaukee, stop in to enjoy the colorful heritage of Milwaukee Fire Department!
Milwaukee Fire Department Historical Society
MFD Historical Society Museum making space for new displays.
On March 6, 2012 the MFD Historical Society moved a vintage 1850 hand pumper out of the MFD Historical Museum to make room for a 1947 Cadillac Ambulance to be put on display. The hand pumper dates back to the 1850’s and was used by a volunteer fire company here in Milwaukee. In 2004 Fire Chief Bill Wentlandt arranged for the Milwaukee County Historical Society to loan this item to the Milwaukee Fire Historical Society for display in our museum on 16th & Oklahoma. The hand pumper was given back to the Milwaukee County Historical Society.
About Milwaukee Fire Historical Society Ltd.
The MFHS was founded in 1981 and is presently located at 1615 W. Oklahoma Avenue in the former firehouse of Engine Company 23 and Truck Company 14.
The Society is dedicated to preserving the rich history, heritage and traditions of the Milwaukee Fire Department. Our facility enables us to be accessible to the public, display our collection of memorabilia and vintage fire apparatus and to conduct educational and historical research activities.
The fire house was constructed in 1927 and remained an active fire station until 1995 when both companies were relocated to a new facility. In 2001 a resolution was passed by the Milwaukee Common Council designating our building a local historical landmark.
Portions of the exterior have been restored to reflect the original facade and architectural design of the twenties. The entire interior décor remains much the same as from days gone by.
Included among the exhibits are a circa 1910 working fire alarm telegraph system, a functional 1920’s firehouse kitchen, original station furniture and furnished personal lockers reflecting the period.
Several pieces of fire apparatus are on display: A 1927 “MFD” pumper and a 1930 “MFD” service truck, both hand built in the fire department repair shop and beautifully restored to their original condition. In addition are a stunning 1947 Cadillac ambulance and a classic WWII 1942 Pirsch sedan style pumper.
Our apparatus collection also includes another 1927 “MFD” pumper currently on loan to the Wisconsin State Firefighters Memorial Park in Wisconsin Rapids and a rare 1957 Mack/Magirus rear mount aerial ladder truck currently undergoing restoration. This unit served as Ladder Co. 2 operating in the downtown area for many years. In addition, we recently acquired another classic Milwaukee gem, that being old Engine 9, a 1949 open cab Mack pumper. This company was, year after year, one of the busiest fire companies.
The Society is governed by a board of directors who serve four year rotating terms. All of these positions are currently staffed by active and retired members of the Milwaukee Fire Department.
As a completely volunteer society, we have undertaken the mission of caretakers in promoting the wonderful legacy of the Milwaukee Fire Department.
The museum is open on the first Sunday of each month and by appointment. Additional information can be obtained by visiting the Milwaukee Fire Department web site and proceeding to our museum link. The Society is recognized by the IRS as a non-profit charitable 501 (c) (3) organization.
The Society has no better friends than those who support the fire service and those who champion the mission we embrace. The charitable support received assists us with the many facets in sustaining the museum. We are truly grateful for the interest, generosity and support in making a dream become a reality.
Board of Directors
Milwaukee Fire Historical Society, Ltd.
President: Warren Skonieczny (Deputy Chief, Ret)
Secretary: James Martins (Fire Chief, Ret) Franklin FD
Treasurer: Randy Leach (Lieutenant, Ret)
Board Members: William Voboril (Deputy Chief, Ret)
Charlie Krueger (Battalion Chief, Ret)
Roger Lawton (Milwaukee Fire Bell Club)
Al Zehm (Firefighter, Ret)
Curator: Jim Ley (Battalion Chief, MFD)
Curator Emeritus Mr. Keith Franz (Venerable Fire Museum)