Betsy's Sale

Call for Sale
On Monday, May 14, 1963, after serving the City of Valparaiso for 40 years, the City Council passed an ordinance calling for the sale of the Betsy. Refitted with a windshield a few years earlier, her open cab with the steering wheel on the right side, gearshift, and break levers attached to the outside of the truck next to the seat looked and had become outdated. On August 20, 1963, Betsy took her official last trip through the streets of Valparaiso. Aboard were Mayor Don Will, Chief Stanley Connors, Councilman Everett Lembke, and Fair Board President Carl Hefner.

Walt Fetla
At 8:30 pm CT at the Porter County Fairgrounds judging ring, Betsy was sold at auction. City officials were surprised at the spirited bidding for the old fire fighting equipment. Mayor Don Will turned the keys over to the late Walt Fetla, owner of Fetla's Trading Post, after summating the winning bid of $2,500 dollars. Betsy was displayed in front of the Fetla's Trading Post on South State Road Two for about three years. The children of the customers were allowed to climb and play on the old fire engine.

Bob White
Bob White, known today as Valparaiso’s hot dog vendor, became the next owner of the 1923 Seagrave Pumper. Bob was able to obtain her for $1,800 when Walt Fetla put Betsy up for sale. Bob took the old fire truck to a number of parades and special events throughout the area. His wife said he used to take the kids on joy rides when they were younger. Over the years, Betsy was driven less and less, until she was just a keepsake setting in a Quonset hut.

Lack of Use
Many people offered to purchase the unkempt fire truck, which was collecting dust as it sat undisturbed. Over the years, rumors about the state of disrepair of the old Valpo fire engine filtered through the Valparaiso Fire Department as well as many serious fire apparatus collectors. Every conversation about Betsy’s condition remarked on two things - it wasn't worth restoring, and you would never believe its current state. Interest was so discouraged that it was accepted as another piece of history lost forever.