American LaFrance Gets New Home, Celebrates 150th Anniversary in July
Celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, American LaFrance also has a new general office and factory complex to brag about.
Purchase of the complex with 48 acres in Elmira, N.Y., was prompted by the company’s need to expand and modernize its manufacturing facilities. Anyway, a new highway was destined to cut right through the middle of the old plant.
The move began last September and was completed in March. Meanwhile, the company says, all delivery commitments and production forecasts were kept.
Built like a fort is how the 500,000square-foot complex was described at the official dedication last April 7. That’s more than a figure of speech. The complex was originally built with a roof deck containing 10 ½ inches of reinforced concrete.
“It was built during World War II to manufacture top-secret Norden bombsights,” said Gerald Peters, American LaFrance president. “Because it would have been a strategic target for enemy aircraft, the building was constructed to be virtually bombproof.”
Special activities have been planned for July 29 through Aug. 1 in recognition of American LaFrance’s 150th anniversary.
Antique American LaFrance fire apparatus will be featured at a muster and parade on July 31. Throughout the day there will be a flea market of fire items, demonstrations, food, entertainment and historical displays.
Modern apparatus in action will compete the next day, followed by a hot-rodders fire apparatus exhibition and bucket brigade competitions. The flea market and other activities will continue.
For more information, contact the 150th anniversary coordinator at American LaFrance, P.O. Box 1508, Elmira, N.Y. 14902, or call (607) 7345137.