Retired fire chief Harold Schapelhouman reflects on the new museum named in his honor

by Linda Hubbard on October 5, 2022

The Menlo Park Fire Protection District is celebrating Fire Prevention Week on Saturday, October 8, at Station 6 on Oak Grove Avenue from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. Debuting will be Schapelhouman Museum and the carriage house. There’ll be an opportunity to ride on Old Tom and bid on auction items that benefit the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation.

Reflecting on the museum retired fire chief Harold Schapelhouman emailed: “Having anything named after you is a high honor, humbling, surprising and a little uncomfortable because at my strata and age in life, I equate those naming’s with the departed and also because these types of projects are truly a team effort and not one person’s claim to fame.

“This project was a real privilege to work on, and it was a true gift to be able to give it back to the Fire District and community, especially at a new integrated and expanded central location where it has greater access, visibility and parking in downtown. COVID prevented us from a broader opening, so Saturday’s event is a way of restarting that process and allowing people to come see it all for themselves.

“So much of the area’s history is disappearing before our eyes and so we’ve tried to capture important local history from the firefighters’ perspective. That involves many key moments in time, the last 100 plus years actually, based upon emergencies, record keeping, photographs/video, news clippings, tools, apparatus and more.

“Since I retired, I’ve been trying to organize boxes of information that I acquired over 40 years from others and bring it all together for a history book. It’s been a monumental task, and I’m not even done getting organized yet, but it’s amazing how much has survived in various formats for almost a complete timeline.

“I’ve always loved history. As a young boy I helped clean up around an antique store which sparked an even greater appreciation of the past, not only because of how interesting it could be, but the evolution of so many products and items was fascinating to a young mind. It’s also one of the reasons I selected the Fire Service as a career — and why it’s still a passion for me.

One Comment

Peter Carpenter October 05, 2022 at 8:20 pm

Harold is truly a gift to our community. His years of service and his dedication to the community are incredible gifts for which we owe him a debt of gratitude.

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