15. Original Fire Station
Most old west towns were quickly thrown together and built from imported lumber. Wooden structures do not survive long in the harsh dry heat of the southwest. Winslow is no different and has lost many of the original buildings along First Street to fires over the decades. A full-time fire department was a necessity for the town. In 1930, the city moved the fire department into what is now the Active Adult Community Center on Second Street. One of the fire trucks from 1940 has been restored and is now part of the Old Trails Museum collection and is maintained by the Friends of the Fire Trucks group.
After World War II, the economy was precarious and people still feared the recent Great Depression. Winslow’s Retail Committee started the annual Christmas Parade in 1946 to try and boost local sales. Shop Local is still a familiar slogan. The Christmas Parade has always been on the Saturday BEFORE Thanksgiving in order to kick off the entire holiday season. One of the City of Winslow’s fire trucks with a waving Santa Claus has always marked the end of the parade.
But one year, tragedy struck just as the parade was coming to a close. There was a fire on the other side of town and the other fire trucks weren’t enough to put out the blaze. The fire truck with Santa on top turned on the sirens and raced away from the parade route. It just happened that they got the call right in front of the fire department. A young firefighter, dressed as an elf, lost his grip on the top of the truck when they increased their speed and he fell backward onto the pavement, breaking his neck instantly.
All these years later, a very burly young elf, wearing a firefighter badge and waving a candy cane is spotted annually at the Christmas parade. He’ll even talk to tourists and pose for photos - but the pictures never show the firefighting elf. Even in the day of instant cameras and pictures on cell phones, no photographic proof of the elf exists.
Did you enjoy the 2021 Fictional Ghost Tour?