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L.W. Bills Fire History Museum - Wall of Masterboxes

Visit our museum

Visiting Hours: 

Monday - Friday 8 am - 4:30 pm

Student groups are welcome but must be scheduled in advance.

Call to schedule your visit!

(978) 352 6660

Museum History

1967 - 2024

L.W. Bills was founded in 1925, but the museum itself was founded in 1967 by Harold Roeder. Harold and his family had a history of firefighting, with his grandfather serving in the Boston Fire Department and his father being a Lexington firefighter, and later, Fire Commissioner. Harold himself served as a firefighter for 44 years, in the Georgetown Fire Department for 36 years, eventually becoming Chief himself, and had a passion for collecting firefighting memorabilia.

When he first started collecting, Edward Brass from B&B Engineering in Norwood, MA provided great help. He donated various pieces such as transmitters, electronic gongs, and firebox movements. As with any hobby, Harold soon found himself wanting more pieces and began attending auctions. He found that collecting firefighting memorabilia was not just a personal interest, but also helped preserve the history of firefighting and allowed others to see the progression of the industry.

Harold's collection grew over the years as other collectors and firefighters approached him with pieces for his collection. There is a brotherhood among collectors and firefighters, who share a mutual passion for collecting and for firefighting.

The museum has also been fortunate enough to receive old equipment from fire departments when they upgrade their systems. For instance, when the department in San Francisco, CA upgraded their fire alarm system, we were able to acquire one of their old municipal fire alarm panels.

More recently, the museum has worked with the Georgetown Fire Department to host school groups and educate children about firefighting. Even Smokey the Bear has made an appearance to help teach kids about fire safety.


We look forward to visitors of all ages being able to celebrate this incredible history. 

Our Collection

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