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You Can Help: Alexandria’s 1858 Prettyman Hose Carriage Selected for Opportunity to Win Conservation Grant

The “Prettyman Hose Reel”, made in Alexandria VA, in 1858. This hand-drawn carriage hauled leather hoses to fire scenes which supplied water to hand-pumper fire engines from wells, primitive fire hydrants, and cisterns. This vehicle is mostly devoid of its original paint, and has structural damage needing restoration. (Photo:Friendship Fire Museum)

Help Friendship Firehouse’s 1858 Prettyman Hose Carriage win up to $4,000 for much-needed conservation. Vote online at daily between January 22 and 31. The Virginia Association of Museums (VAM) listed the carriage as one of Virginia’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts. This nomination places the carriage among a highly regarded and diverse group of artifacts competing for several conservation grants, with generous support from the Community Foundation for a Greater Richmond and Blandford Rees Foundation. Learn more about the program at

The hose carriage represents a technological innovation in fighting fires during the 19th century.  It replaced the less efficient bucket brigades, carrying a reel of up to 600 feet of hose that supplied fire engines with a steady source of water from wells and cisterns. Alexandria’s Friendship Fire Company purchased this Prettyman Hose Carriage in 1858 from local coachmaker and Friendship member Robert F. Prettyman. More than a technological advancement, the hose carriage became a recognized part of parades much as the fire engine is today, celebrating the essential roles fire company members played in the community. The Friendship Firehouse Museum will have a special free open house on Saturday, January 24 to allow visitors to view this unique artifact.

Virginia’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts is a program of the Virginia Association of Museums (VAM). VAM is a statewide network serving the museum community with the vision of a united museum community inspiring the world around us.

The Friendship Fire Company was established in 1774, as the first volunteer fire company in Alexandria. The current firehouse was built in 1855, was substantially remodeled in 1871, and was restored by the City of Alexandria in 1992.



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