Ladder #1 was a 1920 American-LaFrance 75 foot Aerial Ladder Truck. This historic vehicle was the first motorized ladder truck owned by the City of Albuquerque. This ladder was ordered in 1919 at a cost of $20,000 and delivered to the City by railroad car in January of 1922. The vehicle had a steering wheel in the back for the trailer and was powered by a six-cylinder engine. It had four solid rubber tires on wooden spoke wheels. Other equipment include 4 kerosene lanterns and 4 rubber fire buckets. The siren was hand-cranked by fireman. After 23 years of service, Ladder #1 was retired in 1945.
The City donated the vehicle to Moriarity in the late 40s and it was later purchased in the 50s by the owner of Longhorn Ranch where it was put on outdoor display along I-40. Ross Speer then bought the truck and began to restore it in Amarillo, Texas. When Mr. Speer died in 1977, his widow offered it for sale to the City. Then mayor Ken Schultz and Fire Chief Gerald Grimm agreed on a price of $7,500 and it came back to the City. Active fire fighters agreed to work on the restoration on their off-hours and the City paid for materials. The truck was re-dedicated to the City on the 4th of July, 1987. This beautifully-restored, historic fire truck is now on display at the Fire Academy History Room located at 11500 Sunset Gardens Rd. SW.
Albuquerque's first motorized fire equipment in front of Wright's Trading Post on Fourth and Gold. The American La France trucks include Ladder #1, a 1912 Pumper and a 1914 Pumper. Photo taken in the mid 1920s.