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By Joseph Dempsey spacerrev washington

Monday, May 31, 2010

It doesn't take long to take a swing through what's left of downtown Parkin, Arkansas. Like a lot of smaller rural communities, time has ravaged what the planners like to call "the central business district."

There is, however, a shining jewel sitting there for all to see. It's a 1947 International Harvester KB-6 fire truck, "Unit 1" of the Parkin Fire Department, emblazoned with its honorary moniker "OLE MOTHER." As I was standing there admiring the old girl, a member of the Parkin Volunteer Fire Department, Theo Melton, drove up and told me about the truck. For its age, the truck is in remarkable condition.

The first words out of Theo’s mouth were, "She still works. The last time we cranked her up, the pump worked just fine." Although the truck is operable, its highest and best use these days is as a ride for kids during parades. Ole Mother is relegated to outside storage, since the Parkin Fire Department’s more modern rolling stock is housed inside the fire department building.


The old truck proudly displays the venerable "Triple Diamond" logo found on older International trucks. This brand had a reputation for durability and long service.

The truck, on its International Harvester chassis, was manufactured by the American Fire Apparatus Company of Battle Creek, Michigan. There is still a company doing business under that name, but a visit to its web site reveals that it is not in the manufacturing business now, but in the used fire equipment business. As in many cases, it appears that the original company's products remained operational longer than the company.


In 1947, there were no superfluous gadgets cluttering the cab of a truck. If it wasn't necessary to operate the truck and afford at least a modicum of comfort to the driver and passengers, it was simply not included. Notice the triple diamond logo on the heater doors.

Our hats are off to the Parkin Volunteer Fire Department members who have kept the "OLE MOTHER" in good condition for the rest of us to see.

N O T E S:  
Nikon D300, ISO 200, tripod mounted, both shots. Base exposures for compositing were: frontal shot AF-S VR Nikkor 18-200, 1/250 @ f8; interior shot 1/200 @ f4. Post processed with Genuine Fractacls Print Pro, Photoshop CS4 Extended, and Photomatix.

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of the fire truck plus an old aircraft hanger, an old service station turned museum, and Little Rock's skyscrapers on our blog, Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.  Click here to go there.

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Most of the time, there is more to the Photo of the Week story than can be told in an essay. And most of the time there are more pictures to be seen. Presuming that some folk will enjoy being privy to this trove of information, I have created a blog, “Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind,” where I am showing and telling “the rest of the story." There are also some blatantly commercial mentions of some of the things we do to earn our beans and taters. Click on the Weekly Grist logo and go to the blog.  — J. D.


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