By Rosemary Rimkus, Hudson Columnist
HUDSON – A large, gilt-framed testimonial of the roster of Eureka Engine Co. No. 1 (circa 1880) has been returned to the Hudson Fire Department through the efforts of several department members.
Deputy Fire Chief Brian Sleeper, as well as Firefighters Rob O’Hare, Richard Hubert and Steve Walsh traveled to New Bedford in August to bring the huge, six-foot by nine-foot picture from the New Bedford Fire Museum.
Firefighter Rob O’Hare, Hudson’s unofficial Fire Department historian, said that Larry Roy of the New Bedford Museum was very helpful in the transfer of the testimonial, which had been gifted to the Museum in 1995 by the Hudson Historical Society.
The historic testimonial, which will be hung in the vestibule of the Hudson Fire Department headquarters on Cox Street, contains about 75 photos and the testimonial shield, which is engraved in India ink.
Pictured are members of Eureka Engine Co. No. 1 and many other prominent citizens of Hudson.
Hudson native Jeanne (Courtemanche) Gay, informed by Firefighter O’Hare of the acquisition, noted that one of the photos is of Waldo A. Gay, great-grandfather of her husband, Hudson native Roger Gay. Gay and her husband plan to visit the Cox Street station to view the testimonial.
Originally gifted to the M.S. Pickett Engine Co. in Marblehead in 1886 in response to a similar gift from Pickett Co., it was determined in 1920 that the pictures would be more valuable if each testimonial were back in their respective towns. So, the exchange was made.
The testimonial was given to the Hudson Historical Society by the Board of Engineers and hung for many years in the lower reading room of the Hudson Public Library. When the Society relocated in 1995, the testimonial was donated to the New Bedford Fire Museum.
“Another piece of fire history has been brought back to Hudson,” O’Hare said.
Eureka Engine Co’s hand pumper, which gained fame with its success at fire musters in the 1870s, is housed in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, at the Creek A.C. museum, according to O’Hare.