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Chubby, Rochester’s most famous equine firefighter lived in the Craft Company No. 6 firehouse, then called Engine Company No. 6, in the early 1900s. Engine companies used horses to pull steam engines to the scene of the fire during the “Era of the Horses” from the  1886 to 1921.

The firemen took great pride in the  horses they worked with and cared for. They liked to pose with their pal Chubby. In addition to being the most famous of all the firefighter horses, Chubby was the most beloved. (The photo to the right shows Chubby with fireman Frank Kalb.)


 

 

 


His milky whiteness and flowing mane and tail made him a dashing figure with two other chargers drawing the water tower  as he raced to the scene of fire . Fire chief Keating referred to Chubby as “one of the strongest, most willing and good-natured ever in the fire department.”

Fire companies began to switch to motorized engines in the early 1920s and Chubby was retired in 1926. He spent seven years in retirement at the Dog Protective Association farm on Scottsville Road. During that period hundreds of Rochesterians and Monroe County folk made special visits to see him.

Chubby went to greener pastures in February of 1933 and was buried in a straw lined grave in the fields where he loved to roam. Deputy Safety Commissioner, Curtis W. Barker and Fire Chief Maurice Keating attended Chubby’s burial ceremony. Miss Mary Foubister, secretary of the Dog Protective Association, commenting on Chubby’s death said, “It is only fitting that we say goodbye to this great animal. He will be missed by everyone who ever saw him. As near as our records and those of the city show, he was 33 years old at least.”

Mr. Baker was commissioner when Chubby as well as several other horses now dead, were retired in the final group of animals which left when the fire department was completely motorized.

Craft Company No. 6 commissioned local artist/sculptor Vincent Massaro to create Chubby and his fireman for a community art project called “Horses on Parade” sponsored by High Falls Brewing Company in 2001. Regional artists were commissioned to paint and embellish 150 fiberglass horses for this project. 

Craft Company No. 6 purchased Chubby and chose the Arts andCultural Council 
and the Humane Society at Lollypop Farm as purchase beneficiaries. The sculptures of Chubby and his fireman will be on permanent display along ARTWalk, in front of the firehouse where they once performed a vital community service. Conceived by Rochester residents ARTWalk is a permanent urban art trail, connecting the arts centers and public spaces within the Neighborhood of the Arts (NOTA). ARTWalk is an interactive outdoor museum, located on University Ave. between the Memorial Art Gallery and the George Eastman House.
 

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