The Virginia Museum of Transportation has announced the arrival of a rare vehicle that holds a unique place in Virginia history – a 1936 Siebert Ford Combination Ambulance/ Hearse. The exhibit now on display in the Museum’s Advance Auto Parts Auto Gallery has been made possible by Mickey Seagle of Pulaski, VA.
Purchased by the Seagle Brothers Funeral Service to replace its 1907 horse-drawn funeral coach, this combination vehicle also served as the first ambulance in Pulaski. In small towns in the 1920s and 1930s, local undertakers received the same medical training as fire department personnel, supplying emergency transportation in the days preceding rescue squads. When the vehicle was used as a hearse, a canvas bag covered the bumper-mounted red light.
The Seagles’ Ambulance / Hearse served the community until 1953 when the owner of the family business retired and sold the coach. His son, the late Oscar Seagle, purchased the coach in 1990 and completed its award-winning restoration. The vehicle won over eighty first place trophies in car shows. In 1994 in Pittsburgh, PA, it won first place in competition with 103 other vehicles in the ambulance / hearse class.
The Virginia Museum of Transportation is the Official Transportation Museum of the Commonwealth of Virginia, but receives no state funding. In 2010, the Museum was named Non-Profit Arts & Culture Small Business of the Year by the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce. The Museum is located in the historic N&W Freight Station at 303 Norfolk Avenue SW, Roanoke, VA 24016. Open Monday-Saturday 10-5 and Sunday 1-5. 540/342.5670. www.vmt.org