LOS ANGELES COUNTY FIRE MUSEUM COLLECTION

The 1925 Stutz Fire Engine, in our collection, a Model K-3, is commonly known as a “Baby Stutz”. Los Angeles County’s Fire Districts operated six of these “Baby Stutz” engines, so called because of their smaller size, and 450 GPM pumps. The other five originally were purchased for the fire protection districts in Santa Fe Springs (Engine 17), Tujunga/Sunland (Engine 18), La Crescenta (Engine 19), Norwalk (Engine 20), and Lawndale (Engine 21). What became of the other Stutz engines is currently unknown.

Following its delivery in April 1925, our Stutz served as Engine 23 in the Bellflower Fire Protection District. It replaced the old volunteer apparatus that had served there since 1921.

As with most of the museum’s apparatus collection, little is known of this engine’s career. At some point it ended up with the Whittier Fire Department, or the Whittier Firefighter’s Association, where it may have seen service.They found it in an orange orchard in Orange County, in working condition. The pump was being used to irrigate the orchard’s trees!

It may have been used as a parade engine (“Leffingwell-Whittier Antique Engine 1” was painted on the hoods). It was discovered that it was Los Angeles County Fire Engine 23. She found her way back home when the Whittier Fire Department became part of the Los Angeles County Fire Department in 1975.

The Museum had maintained the Stutz and in the past used her for musters and other events. She has not been driven very much in the last 15-20 years. It is in running condition. In the run up to opening our new Museum facility in 2018, this apparatus was chosen for a “quick” restoration. It was painted and gold leafing was applied to it for the grand opening celebration in July, in fine condition for sharing the Bellflower apparatus with the public. It is a center piece in the Museum today.


ADDENDUM TO THE HISTORY OF THE 1925 STUTZ

One of the best things that happens when we post our artifacts on the internet is receiving communication from those who have a history with them. In August, 2010, we received an email from retired Captain Jerry D. Hannah. Actually, we received this email through a chain… he sent it to Jeff Russell, and it was forwarded to us. This matters, because in the email he discusses Jeff’s father. In the email there is a short discussion of some changes made on the Engine since 1968. Interesting facts we can now add to the history of the Stutz that we might not otherwise discover. Thank you Captain Hannah for taking the time to share this with everyone!

Here is the email and the photos are in the slide show above:

To: Jeff Russell
CC: Louis Buffone
Forwarded to: Joe Woyjeck

Jeff,

You probably don’t remember me but I was the Captain at Whittier Station 2 on Hadley Street. Carl Gronewold was the engineer and your dad Ken (editor: Ken Russell), and Rich Rowland were the other two members on our A Shift crew.

Your father was the lead man on the restoration, and I along with quite a few others, helped him, and he did a great job. We used it in parades and 4th of July celebrations.

What triggered my curiosity, was that we were recently going through an old picture album and found three pictures that my Mother took when I stopped by their home to pick up my Dad while on my way to South Gate to participate in a parade.

The date on the Polaroid indicates that they were taken during April 1968.

If the pictures will be of any use to you or the Los Angeles County Museum, please feel free to use them in any way you might choose.

I saw the picture of the Stutz on the County Museum Website, but there had been changes made to it that made me wonder if it was actually the same engine. They had repainted the hood that erased the reference to antique engine 1, added a chrome siren, changed the radiator cap and added a rear spotlight.

Please accept my best wishes and convey them to your fellow firefighters. I have been retired for 35 years but my love and respect for the fire service has not diminished.

Jerry D. Hannah

In the second photo the sign reads:

Owned by: John D. Lusk
Restored and Maintained by: Local N1503 Whittier Professional Fire Fighters

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