By Louie Graves
A structure that once housed the Nashville Volunteer Fire Department has been donated to the museum by the family of John and Mary Lyons, and part of that structure will be used to display items from the history of the Nashville VFD.
Freddie Horne, chairman of the historical society, recently took donated “turnout” protective clothing once worn and owned by the late Billy White, one of the 44 men who have served as fire chief of the department. Horne said that more protective clothing and some helmets and other items had been promised by other families of former firemen.
The three-part structure on West Sypert Street also includes a brick addition, used by the Lyons as a residence. It was city hall at one time.
The middle section was once the fire station, and Horne says that eventually the city’s oldest firetruck, circa 1948, would be kept in one of the bays.
He adds that pictures of all of the department’s fire chiefs which are now kept at the ‘new’ fire station would be moved to the museum so that the public could see them.
The Nashville Volunteer Fire Department counts its origin as 1924 although early records are sketchy. The first man to be listed as fire chief was Fred Murphy, a even that year is uncertain. The last fire chief was Davey Byers. Nashville’s current fire marshal, Jerry Harwell, has served in both capacities since 2003 when they were combined.
A third part of the structure is the old Continental Trailways bus terminal. Horne has several fixtures and items related to the bus line and the era that will be on display. Among the items he is hoping to find for the ‘bus station’ is an old telephone booth. He already has some ‘penny scales’ and other retro items.
Horne anticipates the formal dedication of the building will be between Christmas and New Years when the Lyons family is able to attend but he is still giving visitors a tour of the facility.