Morris Freeholders Honor Madison For Unique Preservation And Restoration Of Historic Fire Truck

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.

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.’’

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

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 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 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

For more information on “Geraldine’’ the fire truck and Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge, visit:

For information on the Morris County Historic Preservation Grant Program, visit:

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