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Petticoat Lane, West from Walnut
Petticoat Lane, West from Walnut
TitlePetticoat Lane, West from Walnut
DescriptionPostcard of Petticoat Lane, West from Walnut
Historical ArticleThe Missouri River steamboat Kate Swinney brought Kansas City's first fire engine to the Main Street docks in the late 1860s. The engine was christened John Campbell after a local citizen who had done much to establish the first company.

At the International Fire Congress in England in 1893 a Kansas City crew of firefighters under Chief George C. Hale, along with Dan and Joe, their famous team of white Arabian horses, won the gold medal for first place in hitching, reaching the scene of fire and throwing water. Time, 8-1/2 seconds. Later the team was received by Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle. An evening's exhibition in London given for the general public was witnessed by 90,000 persons.

Seven years later another Kansas City team performed at the National Fire Conference in Paris with their horses, Buck and Mack. After the Paris exhibition Chief Hale was deluged with proposals from many countries for exhibitions.

The London Daily Mail offered $1,000 to any fire team that could equal the Kansas City team. Each day for a full week a new team from London took up the challenge but Kansas City consistently won by performing the routine in 35 seconds. The task required harnessing the horses, running 200 yards with the engine, laying 100 feet of hose and shooting water through a hose.

In 1907 old Dan was ordered retired to Swope Park to spend the rest of his days in clover. His partner had been killed in a collision. Shortly after Dan's retirement the Fire Department began to convert form horse-drawn engines to motor-driven vehicles.

Many hated to see the passing of the horse-drawn wagon. Even the horses let go of the era reluctantly, for long after old Dan was retired he would race across the park grasses whenever he heard a bell.

The old post card titled Famous Petticoat Lane, Kansas City, Mo. pictures pedestrians watching a horse-drawn fire engine as it turns north at 11th and Walnut. Federmann's Drug Store was at the corner at that time. Other signs in the background are those of Peck's and John Taylor's.

Kansas City Times
February 17, 1978

AuthorRay, Mrs. Sam (Mildred)
Item TypePostcard
CollectionMrs. Sam Ray Postcard Collection (SC58)
See finding aid: http://localhistory.kclibrary.org/u?/Local,36981
Local SubjectPetticoat Lane
Digital FormatJPEG
RepositoryMissouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri
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