Years of planning, saving and collecting culminated Friday with the official opening of the new Hanover Fire Museum.

Museum committee and fire department members, and local and county officials opened the museum with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tour.

The museum, located in the former Hanover Shoe Co. boiler/electrical building, highlights the evolution of the fire service in the Hanover region and honors those who dedicated their lives to protecting the community.

The 4,000-square-foot museum includes items that had been on display at the small museum at nearby Wirt Park Fire Station, including the 1882 Silsby Steamer.

But as retired Hanover Borough Fire Commissioner James Roth noted Friday, “We quickly grew out of that museum and kept many things under wraps.

James Roth shakes hands with York County Prison inmates Shane Stoner, middle, and Keenan Pleasant, right, both of whom worked on the museum as part of the

James Roth shakes hands with York County Prison inmates Shane Stoner, middle, and Keenan Pleasant, right, both of whom worked on the museum as part of the prison s Community Cleanup Program. (THE EVENING SUN SHANE DUNLAP)

“Those items and loads of other firefighting-related equipment donated and discovered since the project started now have a place of their own.

“A lot of dedicated people have put this together,” Roth said.

During Friday’s ceremony, York County Corrections Officer Robert L. Shoop was presented with a plaque that will be displayed in the museum marking the contribution of York County Prison inmates who worked for months on the project.

“The guys actually loved it here. This is the best thing we’ve done,” said Shoop, who oversaw the crews at the museum. “It’s meant a lot to them.”

At least once a week since November, inmate crews of between five and seven members came to the museum to do everything from polishing the countless pieces of brass to building platforms and moving displays over from the Wirt Park station, Shoop said.

“Everything you see in here, these guys have worked on,” he said. “They’ve been extra careful. Everything’s been carried around like it was their own.”

“I’m proud of it. It’s a great place,” said Keenan Pleasant, one of the half-dozen inmates at the ceremony. “I’m glad I had a chance to do something like this.”

Pleasant said he thought the Silsby Steamer is the highlight of the museum. He and other work crew members spent an entire day polishing it, he said.

Officials also presented Roth with a photograph taken in early 1888 showing the Silsby engine pumper in action in the square in Hanover.

“At that point in time, there are very few pictures of fire equipment in motion,” said Bruce Yealy, Lt. Medic with Hanover Hospital, who noted that the plate for the picture was recently discovered in a box of items in Gettysburg.

Although the museum is officially open, it is not complete. Roth said there is work to be done on some of the displays and officials still receive donated items.

“It’s a work in progress,” he said.

IF YOU GO

What: Hanover Fire Museum

When: Regular hours will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the first and third Saturdays of each month.

Where: 241 N. Franklin St., Hanover

Penn Township Fire Chief Jan Cromer looks over the fire apparatus at the Hanover Fire Museum, which opened Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Penn Township Fire Chief Jan Cromer looks over the fire apparatus at the Hanover Fire Museum, which opened Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. (THE EVENING SUN SHANE DUNLAP)