After decades of sitting idle, the 1876 Clapp and Jones Fire Steamer will be featured in Virginia City's Fourth of July parade.
"It's been beautifully restored to the original factory condition," said Joe Curtis, fire chief of the Storey County Volunteer Fire Department. "It is a magnificent piece of equipment, the likes of which one may never have the opportunity to actually see working."
The steamer was purchased 18 years ago by the Comstock Firemen's Museum. Although it was fully functional, it has been awaiting restoration.
Museum member Jack Greenhalgh worked with other members over the past two years to restore it.
"It was a basket case. It was completely dismantled," Greenhalgh said. "It's pretty rewarding to see it completed."
Greenhalgh, who's father and grandfather were also Comstock firefighters, restored the steamer with a grant through the E.L. Weigand Foundation of Reno, along with private donations.
The firefighters showed off their handiwork Wednesday afternoon during the first showing of the newly restored steamer.
Tom Gray was among the founders who organized the museum about 15 years ago. He said they used to wish they had a steamer to display.
"Now it's come to fruition," he said.
After the parade, which begins around noon at the Fourth Ward School, the engine will be on display at the Firemen's Museum on C Street.
It will be fired up and spraying water to demonstrate its prowess as a functional steamer apparatus. The steamer replaced hand pumps, then became obsolete with the invention of the automobile.
The steamer is the same type that was used in Virginia City in the 1880s and was featured in the movie, "Hello Dolly," before it was purchased by the museum.
The exact history of the machine, however, is hazy. It was lost when original paperwork was destroyed in a fire.
IF YOU GO
What: Virginia City Fourth of July Parade
When: noon Friday
Where: North along C Street in Virginia City
What: Steamer display
When: After the parade
Where: Comstock Firemen's Museum, 51 S. C St.