This Kiddie Hook and Ladder Fire Tuck Amusement Ride was purchased
new in 1951 by the Whalom Amusement Park and used for 49 years
until the park closed down in 2000. Whalom Amusement Park was one
of the first amusement parks in the US. The Massachusetts park
opened in 1893. The truck was designed with wooden benches in the
rear that would hold up to 25 children. The ladders are mounted on
hinges and swing open and close to secure passengers while in
The truck has only 9k actual miles and underwent a cosmetic
restoration. These Hook and Ladder trucks are very rare and
desirable because its a unique novelty. What makes this one special
is the fact that its history is known. Most of the examples today
don't have the pedigree and background and could even be replicas.
Knowing where this truck came from, how it was used provides a
historic value on top of its novelty value, plus we can be certain
its an original and not a replica!
Overland-Crosley firetruck ride boasts
impressive, extensive Whalom Park history
There's so much more than a modified vintage Crosley in this
firetruck. It's an Overland Amusements kiddie ride original crafted
especially for Whalom Park in Lunenburg, Massachusetts.
Whalom enjoyed an amazing 107-year history, delighting visitors as
far back as 1893. And this very firetruck ferried happy kids - as
well as park mascots - for 49 of those 107 years, from 1951 right
up until the park's final farewell on Labor Day weekend 2000.
Eye the gold-leaf Kiddie Fire Department emblem on the Crosley
"tractor" and walk the length of the attached trailer - with its
ladder-restrained, back-to-back bench seats, brass bell, hose and
fire extinguisher embellishments - and one might well imagine the
happy shouts of the thousands of children who once climbed
One of just four of this particular model, the Crosley
hook-and-ladder truck was built by Overland Amusements of
Its purchaser was none other than one of the nation's most enduring
and beloved amusement parks, one featuring a lakeside setting and a
theater that drew world-renowned acts. And from its very first day
on the job at the park until its last, this Overland-Crosley
firetruck kiddie ride also was beloved.
Still bearing its original park registration tags, the firetruck
was noteworthy news the year of its debut. A local, 1951
Massachusetts news clipping highlights the ride's imminent arrival
as part of the park's upcoming attractions.
Crosleys were historically significant in their own right. Built in
Indiana between 1939 and 1952, the "microcars" were an affordable
form of transportation for the masses. Original models sold for
under $375 and featured no gas gauge, a hand-cranked windshield
wiper and windows that slid open for hand signaling.
But what really makes this model unique is not only the fact that
it was among the few 1951 Crosleys modified by Overland, but that
it also enjoyed such a lengthy and uninterrupted Whalom Park
Most amusement parks didn't last that long. This one dated back all
the way to 1893. And this Overland-Crosley, bought by Whalom brand
new in 1951, was placed in continual use until Labor Day 2000.
It's impossible to guess how many thousands of kids crawled up the
back gate to claim their seats before an operator at the lakeside
park lowered the ladders that secured them. How many tiny hands
grasped the long, thin rope that clanged the truck's bell over its
decades of use?
It's a fair bet, though, that both numbers are high. Trolleys
brought patrons to Whalom Park from nearby Leominster, Fitchburg
and Gardner during the summers as far back as the late 1800s. And
the list of stars who performed at the Whalom Park Theatre through
the late 1960s was impressive, including Ethel Barrymore, Imogene
Coca, Merv Griffin, Herbert Marshall, Walter Pidgeon, Mickey
Rooney, Joan Blondell, Peggy Cass and many more.
To be a part of such a rich history for such a long time gives this
kiddie ride an unrivaled cool factor. For a time, the tiny
trailor-tractor was even pressed into service as a Whalom Park
parade vehicle from which park mascots waved to the crowds, a duty
it diligently performed right through the park's final hours.
Preserving this Overland-Crosley kiddie ride's history, along with
honoring the park's unique place in the nation's past, is something