When Estes Park's Doug Klink
was nine years old, his
family moved into a home across the street from the Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin fire station.
The station housed three 1950s fire engines, all manufactured by the Seagrave Company
of Columbus, Ohio.
The two pumpers and one ladder truck provided fire protection for the 17,000 residents of the suburb of Milwaukee.
The firemen became a second family for Doug
, and he
spent time polishing and helping with the mechanical upkeep of the trucks.
In 1979, while in college, he joined the volunteer fire department in Charlottesville, Virginia and has been a volunteer firefighter ever since, including volunteering in Estes Park since 2002.
family moved away from Whitefish Bay, the trucks were sold off one by one.
In 1989, Doug
was living in Kansas City, Missouri when he
got a call from his
Mother, who still lived in Whitefish Bay.
that an ad in the Whitefish Bay paper announced that the Village was auctioning off the last of the three Seagrave fire trucks, including the 1956 1000 gallon per minute pumper.
recalls the sale: "They asked for a minimum bid of $3,000 but I thought that was too much, so I bid $1,500".
A few weeks passed and Doug
forgot about the bid.
Then the phone rang and he
was informed that he
was the only bidder and that the truck was his
remembers: "I flew to Milwaukee with some tools in a suitcase.
I installed 100 feet of new spark plug wire, changed the oil and was ready to drive it the 600 miles to Kansas City.
The only problem was that it was July and temperatures were 100 degrees across Iowa.
Regardless, the truck performed flawlessly at its top speed of 55 mph.
With frequent stops to cool off the crew, the trip took Doug and a friend almost 20 hours!
Doug founded the Reliance Fire Museum, which is located in Estes Park at 460 Elm Road.