The Return of Betsy
Valparaiso Fire Department Historian Battalion Chief Gene Spencer was asked to speak to a group of Breakfast Kiwanis on the history of the Valparaiso Fire Department. Questions arose pertaining to past fire apparatus that had seen service with the Department, and information about the 1923 Seagrave became part of the topic.
Dale Bagnall, owner of Indiana Furniture Showcase and a member of the Breakfast Kiwanis, attended the meeting. Two days later, Dale offered to purchase Betsy and return her to the Fire Department. As Dale explained it, "This is my way to return something to the community, its schoolchildren, and of course, the Fire Department."
Return to Valparaiso
After a 41 year extended leave, Betsy, our 1923 Seagrave fire engine, was returned on Friday, April 5th, 2002, to Valparaiso Fire Department Station # 2, on top of a trailer from LaCrosse.
Plans were made to return the old 1923 Seagrave to her prior youth. Since Betsy’s return, her body has been cleaned, all chrome shined, and the tires inflated. The motor turned when hand cranked, and her fire bell was intact, complete with a working siren. Many of the operation levers and attachments have been freed and are operable. As it turned out, Betsy was able to be restored after all.
Thanks to the kindness of Dale Bagnall and Art Miller of Miller Shopping Center,
part of the history of the Valparaiso Fire Department has been returned to the community, and was able to be restored.