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Former Black Springs Volunteer Fire Department opens as museum (photos)


Community members gathered on Saturday to celebrate the grand opening of the Northern Nevada African American Firefighter Museum in north Reno. The museum is a project of Our Story, Inc., a local nonprofit that works to share lesser-known parts of northern Nevada’s history.  

Our Story founder Kenneth Dalton said that while the museum opens during Black History Month, the project has been in the works for two years.  

The museum is housed in the former Black Springs Volunteer Fire Station, which was built and run by community members. The museum features firefighting artifacts as well as images of the station being built by members of the community. 

William Lobster Jr. is the son of William Lobster Sr., leader of the Black Springs Volunteer Fire Station and, according to Our Story, believed to be the first Black fire chief in Nevada’s history. Lobster Jr. came to the event from Oregon and said he was proud to attend.    

Lobster Jr. was joined by Dan Coppa, son of former Washoe County Commissioner Joe Coppa, posed for a photo in front of the fire station just as their fathers had when the station was constructed. Coppa said he was humbled by the event.  

Coppa said the event was also very moving for him and his family.  

 The museum is located at 218 Kennedy Drive in north Reno near Lemmon Valley. 

Ty O'Neil
Ty O'Neil
Ty O’Neil is a lifelong student of anthropology with two degrees in the arts. He is far more at home in the tear gas filled streets of war torn countries than he is relaxing at home. He has found a place at This Is Reno as a photojournalist. He hopes to someday be a conflict photojournalist covering wars and natural disasters abroad.