The 1939 Ahrens-Fox Project
This all started in January, 2016, after volunteer John King watched a PBS program (Ultimate Restorations) about the restoration of an early fire truck. Knowing that the Greenfield Historical Society had the 1939 Ahrens-Fox (AF) stored in a barn, there was curiosity as to whether it could be made road-worthy again for parades, educational events, etc. It was and continues to be a valuable piece of Greenfield's history and is worthy of its preservation for future generations. Our intent is not a total restoration as shown in the PBS program, but rather an effort to make the truck safe to use in promoting Greenfield and to preserve part of our rich past.
Wendy Royse, Society President, opened the door to the storage barn for John to have a look and take some initial pictures of the AF. That started the project rolling. Shortly after that initial visit to see the truck John Royse enthusiastically offered his help and much needed expertise. That really jump-started the project as John knew others with extensive backgrounds in early engine and tractor repair and restoration. Jim Kline was one of those early volunteers to get involved and has been invaluable in the project. Jerry Royse (John Royse's cousin and classmate of John King) has also been another valuable contributor to the project. Jerry drives over from the Athens, OH, area to offer his expertise. He and cousin John are a dynamic duo in this effort. Also participating has been Jim Thompson, Mike Royse (yes, another from "team Royse"), Jeff George, and Greenfield Fire Chief Bradley George. It has been a total team effort, each offering various levels of input and "muscle" to keep this project moving forward.
In early March, another volunteer, Zach Pryor, used his truck to haul the AF from the historical society's storage barn to the spacious barn on the John and Wendy Royse property. Not only did that barn provide much needed space for the work, but John has all the tools necessary to continue the necessary work.
In addition to local talent, we have engaged a few from outside of Greenfield. Specifically, Mr. Howard Kuhnell, fire chief of the former Milford Vol. Fire Dept. and later Assít. Chief of the professional full time Mariemont Fire Dept., has not only been a great resource via his emails, but has also driven over to Greenfield multiple times to help. We have also been in contact with folks with similar interests in preservation of old fire apparatus through a Yahoo Group, the Miles Greenwood Society, and the Society for the Preservation and Appreciation of Antique Motor Fire Apparatus in America. Jim Murray (NJ) has also been a great resource to us in finding manuals, parts, etc.
Many thanks to ALL the volunteers who are making this a very successful project. The volunteer team is also grateful to the Greenfield Historical Society for giving us the "green light" to proceed with repairs.
Below are some pictures of the 1939 Ahrens-Fox and some of the work sessions. Please scroll down to see a 20 second movie of the truck actually being driven by John Royse! (Be sure to have your sound on.) Also, if you have pictures or stories about the fire truck or those who actually may have used it when it was in service, we would love to hear from you.