Know Your Fire Hydrants
wooden water mains, hydrants are now made of cast iron--the basic design was patented in 1869, and Ann Arbor has a handful of nineteenth-century models still in service. Just three Michigan foundries provided most of the city's hydrants, and the display has examples from them all: Detroit's Michigan Valve, and the East Jordan and Traverse City iron works.
The fire department has a plug of its own to pass along: it asks home owners to shovel the snow around nearby hydrants, so firefighters can find them quickly in an emergency.
[Originally published in January, 2011.]