Pieces of History Go Up for Sale

July 12, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
More than one hundred people placed bids for pieces of Fresno's history Saturday. Antique farm equipment and vehicles from the estate of late Fresno businessman Frank Caglia went up for auction, and many of the buyers hoped to bring new life to the items from the past.People trying to buy a piece of history had a selection of antique tractors to choose from as pieces of the past went up for sale. "You would probably redo this one, refurnish it and put it on for display because they tractor shows all over the United States. People actually collect these," said Gary Whatley of Fresno. Whatley was just one of more than a hundred people who showed up to bid on items from the estate of Frank Caglia. The Fresno businessman died last year at the age of 94, leaving behind decades of collectibles.

"I think he was like me, or I'm like him. Sentimental. Everything probably had a meaning to some degree. Some, not so much, others he had so much, just not enough time to do something with it," said Caglia's grandson, Richard Caglia.

Richard Caglia said Saturday's auction was necessary in order to make space. But there was also a twinge of sadness, especially when it comes to the old fire trucks. The president of the Fresno Firefighters Union had his eyes on an old yellow one, which he was hoping to buy on behalf of the union. "We would like to purchase it back so we could paint it and put it back in the closest to original condition we can and share it with the community of Fresno," said Jerry Smith, the president of Fresno Firefighters Local 753.

The truck was purchased by the city of Fresno back in 1940 and was first used as a water tanker or hose wagon, then later converted to haul fuel. Richard Caglia also expressed some interest in bidding on the truck himself. But whatever happened, he was just glad many of the items from his grandfather's estate will be restored to their original beauty. In the end, the Fresno Firefighters Union placed the highest bid, and purchased the old fire truck. Smith said they hope to start rebuilding the old engine soon, so they can start using it in displays throughout the community, including parades.


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