Monday, June 20th, 2016

TARGET OF RESTORATION WAS 95-YEAR-OLD “GERALDINE’’ 

"Geraldine''

“Geraldine”

The Morris County Freeholders have honored the Borough of Madison with a Historic Preservation plaque for their unique effort to preserve and restore “Geraldine,’’ a circa 1921 fire truck that was donated to the borough nearly a century ago by the late Geraldine R. Dodge.

The Ahrens Fox P-4 fire truck was a gift from the borough’s benefactor, who also gave the borough the Hartley Dodge Memorial Building, which serves as the borough’s town hall.

Madison Councilwomen Astri Baillie and Carmella Vitale, along with Madison Fire Chief Lou DeRosa, accepted the historic plaque at the freeholder’s June 8 meeting held at the Mennen Sports Arena in Morris Township.

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(l/r) Freeholders Deborah Smith and Kathy DeFillippo, Ray Chang, Councilwoman Astri Baillie, Chief Lou DeRosa, Councilwoman Carmela Vitale, and Freeholders John Cesaro, Christine Myers, and Tom Mastrangelo

The restoration project was partly financed with the assistance of the Morris County Historic Preservation Grant Program, which provided $75,000 for the project. The borough provided $75,000 in matching funds for the project.

“This is an absolutely unique restoration project, and one that really preserves a hands-on part of our county’s history,’’ said Freeholder Director Kathy DeFillippo. “It is certainly far different than most other preservation projects the county has funded but certainly one that is very deserving. Congratulations to Madison for this great effort.’’

Morris County Historic Preservation Program Coordinator Ray Chang provided details of the Madison project:

  • The Ahrens Fox P-4 Fire Truck is affectionately called “Geraldine,” as it was originally purchased and given to Madison in 1921 by Geraldine R. Dodge, who also gave the Borough as a gift the Hartley Dodge Memorial Building – which is the borough town hall.
  • Geraldine represents the transition from bucket brigades to continuous stream firefighting. Although nine of these vehicles originally were originally constructed, there are only three remaining examples of this model.
    Geraldine R. Dodge and Madison

    Geraldine R. Dodge and Madison Fire Chief Edward Daniher

  • Geraldine is a contributing “structure’’ to the Hartley Dodge Memorial Building, which is a key-contributing building in the New Jersey and National Register listed Madison Civic Commercial Historic District.
  • With assistance from a County Historic Preservation grant of $75,000, the borough successfully completed the acquisition of the Fire Truck, with the Borough of Madison providing the 50 percent match.

Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge (188201973) was the youngest daughter of William A. Rockefeller Jr. In 1907, she married Marcellus Hartley Dodge, president of the Remington Arms Company. In 1916, they purchased the estate in Madison that is now known as Giralda Farms.

For more information on “Geraldine’’ the fire truck and Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge, visit: http://www.bringgeraldinehome.com/

For information on the Morris County Historic Preservation Grant Program, visit: http://planning.morriscountynj.gov/divisions/prestrust/historic/