County gives city Eloise fire truck

Westland's historic village will be home to a 1919 Model T fire truck once used on the old Eloise Hospital site at Michigan Avenue and Merriman Road.

The county-owned hospital served as an infirmary and housed psychiatric patients. In its heyday, Eloise served thousands of people.

Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano signed an agreement Monday with Westland Historical Commission Chairwoman Jo Johnson to bring the old fire truck to the city's historic village, on Wayne Road south of Marquette.

"It's just a wonderful thing," Johnson said. "We're very happy to receive this, and we'll take very good care of it."

The fire truck, with its pump mounted on the front of its crankshaft, will be on display along with historic buildings at the village site.

The truck also will be displayed during local parades, said Johnson's husband, Ernie, vice president of Friends of the Westland Historical Museum. Although the Model T still runs, it will be towed or hauled on a flatbed truck to protect it, Ernie Johnson said.

He recalled that a blacksmith shop on the Eloise property burned in 1919 -- the year the fire truck was made. Historians haven't yet been able to confirm that the Model T pumper was bought in response to that fire.

Ultimately, the Eloise complex was so large that it had its own fire department, Ernie Johnson said.

It wasn't known this week when the fire truck will be delivered to the historical museum site, which is open to the public 1-4 p.m. Saturdays. | (734) 953-2110

Originally published May 21, 2006

This 1919 Model T fire truck, used to fight fires on the old Eloise Hospital property, will soon have a new home at the Westland Historic Village Park, on Wayne Road between Marquette and Cherry Hill.