WALLINGFORD — An historic fire truck from the town’s long-defunct Tracy Volunteer Fire Department will make its second appearance in one of the town’s jubilee parades Saturday.
Mark Stone, owner of Stone Excavating Company, has spent the last few months renovating the 1938 Holibird 750 Pumper in preparation for the Wallingford 350th+2 Jubilee Parade, which is set to start at 1:30 p.m. at Moses Y. Beach School.
With help from his father and friends, Stone repainted the vehicle, replaced the wood sidings and flooring, reupholstered the seating, replaced the headlights and redid the lettering. To ensure authenticity, he relied on a photograph of the vehicle taken when it was in driving in the town’s 1970 Jubilee parade, with his father’s late friend Bernie Richard behind the wheel.
“Other than a few modifications to make it more authentic, it’s pretty much the way it was,” he said.
When the truck appears in Satruday’s parade, Richard’s wife, Geri Richard, will join Stone in the procession.
When she saw the vehicle restored to its 1970 appearance, she said she was shocked by its transformation.
“… (Stone) worked hard on this thing,” she said.
Since appearing in the 1970 parade, the truck was sitting dormant at Donzello Farm Market until Stone spoke with the owner about having it in the 350th parade. Stone worked with Plunske's Garage to have it towed to his garage on North Plains Highway.
Stone hopes to do more work on the truck, particularly its engine to see if it can be brought back to working order. The truck will be towed along the parade route.
The firehouse the pumper was stationed at, Tracy Volunteer Fire Department, was at 1233 Old Colony Road. It covered a small portion of town between Yalesville and Meriden. According to a history of the department, the pumper — nicknamed the “white elephant” — was donated to the fire company in the mid 1940s after being used on a military base. The Tracy Volunteer station closed in 1979.
After the fire engine was retired, sometime around the 1950s, the farm market acquired it and repurposed it to water fields.
This year’s jubilee parade is expected to run for around four hours, following a two mile route from Moses Y. Beach down North Main Street onto Center Street and South Elm Street. It will conclude at the Pond Hill Road entrance to Lyman Hall High School.
Two bands will be playing along the parade route before the parade begins.
Entertainment on parade day will start at noon. The Dyn-O-Myte Disco Band will perform at the intersection of South Main and Center streets, facing North Main Street. Number Nine, a Beatles tribute band, will be set up across from BC Bailey Funeral Home on South Elm Street.
Around 125 organizations and approximately 200 marchers will participate in the parade.
Reporter Devin Leith-Yessian can be reached at email@example.com.