Where's old fire barn pole now?

Line of Grand Haven asked, "Does anyone know where the pole from the Fire Barn on Fifth went?"
Mark Brooky
Mar 6, 2013



The old brass pole was used by the firefighters who slept upstairs to quickly descend to the trucks and equipment in the bays below.

"A lot of older locals have told me that they used to have open houses at the station and they would let the kids go down the pole," Line said. "A few years ago, the fire barn was turned into (an art) gallery, and some visitors wondered where the pole had gone because they remembered it from their youth."

Line, who helped found the Fire Barn Gallery that now calls the first floor at 18 N. Fifth St. home, said she has asked around and no one seems to know what happened to the pole.

The old fire barn was built by the Work Projects Administration in 1936-37. It was replaced by the city's present Public Safety Building, 525 Washington Ave., in 1975. The "new" fire station has no need for a pole because there is no second-floor sleeping quarters.

Lt. Renee Freeman of the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety said she does not personally know what became of the pole, but was told by another staff member of its whereabouts at least until 2000.

"The pole was stored in the old water plant," Freeman said. "When the city sold the water plant, the city had to remove their property (and) that was the last time we saw it."

Dr. Dave Seibold, in his local history tome, "Grand Haven in the Path of Destiny," wrote that the old fire barn pole may have been the same one from an earlier city fire house built in 1892.

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I wonder what other assets we have lost track of. #wastedTaxPayerMoney Even if it was not of great $ value, it is still part of our heritage. We certainly are a reckless society. If we are not faithful in small things (an old fire pole) what makes people think we will be responsible with large things (like Grand Landing).

Shouldn't all city assets be inventoried on a regular (annual basis).

Mark Brooky

Former Grand Haven fireman Charlie Yonker told us the pole was taken out of the old fire barn in April 1986 and stored in the Quonset hut at the old water plant. He believes some of it was cut into sections and given to a few Grand Haven firefighters as they retired.

Yonker said the pole was brass with a steel rod through the middle. He said he hurt his ankle when he went down it as a kid.


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