The History of the
CRADLE OF LIBERTY ANTIQUE FIRE APPARATUS ASSOCIATION
REPAUPO FIRE MUSEUM
The Cradle of Liberty Antique Fire Apparatus Association was founded on January 27, 2008. The first Executive Board meeting was held on March 2, 2008 in Paulsboro, New Jersey and CLAFAA applied to become the Penn Jer Del Chapter of the Society for the Preservation & Appreciation of Antique Motor Fire Apparatus in America (SPAAMFAA).
During our first year, CLAFAA applied and was awarded the bid to host the 2013 SPAAMFAA Summer Convention in addition to also beginning the process to become a nonprofit corporation as the Cradle of Liberty Antique Fire Apparatus Association and Museum. Activities held during our first year of existence included five (5) membership meetings, four (4) Executive Board meetings, a bus trip to the Catskill Fire Cats muster in Circleville, New York as well as two (2) of our own musters. One muster was held in Ambler, Pennsylvania and the other was held at the Rose Tree Park in Media, Pennsylvania.
CLAFAA continued to grow in the years following with our members working hard to make our events and projects educational and friendly. Membership meetings continued to be held and initial preparations were made to host SPAAMFAA’s 2013 Summer Convention and Muster.
In 2012, CLAFAA’s annual muster was moved to the Cooper River Park in Camden County, New Jersey as this location was a more centrally located.
In August of 2013, CLAFAA hosted SPAAMFAA’s Summer Convention in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. The convention’s muster was held at the Cooper River Park. Approximately one hundred fifty (150) antique fire apparatus attended the muster.
On May 10, 2014, the Repaupo Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company #1’s firehouse was decommissioned. In November, 2014, a group of CLAFAA members met with representatives of the fire company to discuss the future of the firehouse and its property. CLAFAA representatives were told that the Repaupo members would like to donate the firehouse, its property and Repaupo’s 1968 Chevrolet Brush truck to CLAFAA.
On March 8, 2015, CLAFAA held a special meeting at the Repaupo firehouse. President Keith Kemery gave a report outlining Repaupo’s proposed donation of the firehouse, property and fire truck to CLAFAA. A question and answer period was held and the membership discussed the proposal at length. A motion was made, seconded and unanimously carried to move forward with CLAFAA’s acquisition of the firehouse, property and fire truck.
On June 25, 2015 representatives of CLAFAA and the Repaupo Fire and Rescue Company #1 met and signed the agreement to transfer ownership of the firehouse and brush truck from Repaupo to CLAFAA for $1.00 each.
In July of 2015 CLAFAA obtained insurance for the property. Rules and regulations were also developed and adopted for CLAFAA members to store and display antique apparatus within the large apparatus room of the building. The first apparatus was housed on or about July 12, 2015 and the recently disbanded Delaware Gardens Fire Company of Pennsauken, New Jersey donated memorabilia to be preserved and displayed within the Repaupo Fire Museum.
On August 3, 2015, the 1974 Seagrave Tractor Drawn Aerial used for the movie “LADDER 49” was housed at the Repaupo Fire Museum. Several grounds cleanup work details were also held at the firehouse in August, 2015.
On October 4, 2015 CLAFAA held its first regular membership meeting at the Repaupo Fire Museum with 34 members attending.
A museum committee was formed and the committee met for the first time on October 11, 2015. Initial plans for the original apparatus room and second floor were discussed during the inaugural Museum Committee meeting. Several work details were also held on the museum premises during the month of October, 2015.
On Thursday, October 29 2015, a signed and executed Bargain and Sale Agreement for the property at 7 Repaupo Station Road was delivered to the offices of the Gloucester County Clerk and the Logan Township Assessor. A copy of the document was delivered to the Gloucester County Assessor’s Office on Friday October 30, 2015. CLAFAA NOW OWNED THE FIRE MUSEUM.
In November, 2015, CLAFAA members began regular work details to transform the former Repaupo Fire and Rescue Company #1 firehouse into the Cradle of Liberty Antique Fire Apparatus Association’s Repaupo Fire Museum.
On Sunday, May 22 2016, we celebrated the dedication of the Repaupo Fire Museum with a parade and muster. The event was well attended by supporters, private apparatus owners and numerous fire and emergency service organizations.
Throughout the Fall of 2016, as well as the Winter and Spring of 2017, Saturday morning work details continued on the second floor and in other areas of the Repaupo Fire Museum.
On Sunday, May 21, 2017 we celebrated the ribbon cutting of the Repaupo Fire Museum’s second floor with a spring barbecue and mini muster. Just prior to the event, a special CLFAA membership meeting was held for the purpose of swearing the members of the Repaupo Fire and Rescue Company #1 in as honorary CLAFAA members.
Throughout the Fall of 2017 and the Spring of 2018, Saturday morning work details focused on renovation of Repaupo’s large apparatus room.
In addition to the renovations within the large apparatus room, CLAFAA’s apparatus fleet also increased by two. A 1965 Seagrave 1000 GPM pumper was donated to CLAFAA in the Fall of 2017. The apparatus was formerly owned and operated by the Riverside Fire Company of Burlington County, New Jersey. The Groveville Fire Company of Hamilton Township, Mercer County, New Jersey donated a 1957 Ward LaFrance 1000 GPM pumper to CLAFAA in the Spring of 2018.
The members of the Cradle of Liberty were very proud to celebrate our 10th Anniversary as SPAAMFAA’s Penn Jer Del Chapter while hosting the 2018 SPAAMFAA Summer National Convention and Muster.