Mini-golf benefits police, fire museumThe Old Firehouse & Police Museum offers more than a step back in time. It’s also a site to honor firefighters and police officers from throughout the state. Tucked into Superior’s East End, the museum can be overlooked.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
The Old Firehouse & Police Museum offers more than a step back in time. It’s also a site to honor firefighters and police officers from throughout the state. Tucked into Superior’s East End, the museum can be overlooked.
“I don’t think people realize what a neat place it is,” said Denise McDonald, event coordinator for Superior Public Museums, which oversees the Old Firehouse & Police Museum, Fairlawn Mansion and the SS Meteor whaleback museum.
People can show their support for the museum from 5-8 p.m. Monday on Barker’s Island by snacking on a hot dog and swinging a club. Captain J’s Miniature Golf is again teaming up with Superior Public Museums to hold a fundraiser for the landmark museum. The $6.50 admission price includes 18 holes of mini golf, a hot dog, pop or water and chips.
“It is a fun event,” McDonald. Last year, 100 people attended and more than $1,000 was raised to help pay for roof repairs on the 1898 building.
The turn-of-the century fire hall houses five rigs that fought fires in Superior, ranging the entire spectrum from horse-drawn and steam-powered to gas engines. The trove inside the building at 402 23rd Ave. E. includes firefighting equipment through the decades, examples of old alarm systems and a police exhibit. It also houses the State of Wisconsin Fire & Police Hall of Fame.
“The history that’s there is interesting,” said Superior Police Chief Charles LaGesse. “The advancement of technology … the changes in equipment over the years for officers and firefighters.”
One of the museum’s exhibits, a 1940s Mack fire truck, will be parked on Barker’s Island for the mini-golf event. So will the Superior Fire Department’s 2011 Pierce Velocity pumper engine.
“Our oldest engine and our newest engine side by side,” said Battalion Chief Scott Gordon of the Superior Fire Department.
The Superior Police Department will send officers, a squad car and a police motorcycle to the event. The Superior Police Local, Superior Firefighters Local and LaGesse are each sponsoring one of the holes.
“To me it’s an important museum because it represents police and firefighters in the community,” LaGesse said. The building needs to be maintained, he said, and he wanted to offer what support he could.
Roof repairs on the museum were completed this spring. Funds raised from Monday’s event will be earmarked to pay the rest of that bill.
“Fixing the roof was already in the plan,” said Sara Blanck, executive director of Superior Public Museums. “Unfortunately damage from the flood was not.”
Four feet of water flooded into the basement of the East End museum, where hundreds of artifacts were being stored. A restoration crew was called in to clean and repair items, but many artifacts were too damaged to save. All three boilers were completely submerged and will have to be replaced, Blanck said. Clean up is being funded by combination of museum and city funding, according to MacDonald.
Other repairs are being funded by private donations from local police and firefighters, who have taken the museum to heart. Many volunteer at the site, helping with maintenance of vehicles and building.
Two years ago, Superior Public Museums made the decision to waive admission fees at the Old Firehouse & Police Museum. The building is open to the public for self-guided tours from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday mid-May through August. From September through mid-October, the museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Guided tours are available for groups year-round by appointment. The building’s second-floor room can also be rented out for parties and events. For more information, call (715) 394-5712.