Monday, May 4, 2009

Citizen Hose Company #1, New Cumberland

A couple of weeks ago I started posting on Cumberland County fire companies starting at the west shore when I had no major incidents to report. Today’s post features the Citizen’s Hose Company of New Cumberland.

In 1895 fire destroyed the home and business of Jacob Eisenberger at 5TH and Markets Streets. Newspaper accounts referred to the fire as a major conflagration witch totally destroyed the structures and threatened to spread to adjacent buildings.

Following the fire Mr. H. A. Lenhart, borough Burgess, called a meeting of interested townspeople to organize the Citizen’s Hose Company No. 1, at which time G.W.H. Wilson was elected the first fire chief and Mr. Lenhart the first president.

No fire station existed at the time and it would be another 12 years before the first one was occupied. In 1896 council purchased 500 feet of 2-½ inch hose followed by a hose reel the same month. All the fire equipment was housed in a shed located at the back of the schoolhouse at Fifth and Bridge Streets.

On July 28, 1906 council purchased a lot at the corner of 4Th and Locust Streets for $333.34. On July 29, 1907 the company dedicated the new house with a three-day celebration and parade featuring over 400 firemen in the line of march. The total cost of the project was $2,831.34.

In 1907 the company purchased a hose wagon for $325.00 and a horse for $225.00. The horse was named “Smoke” and it was reported that he loved to eat tobacco and run to fires.

In 1915 the company received their first motorized rig, a Brockway combination chemical and hose truck. In 1923 an American LaFrance 600-gpm triple combination pumper was purchased for $12,250.00.

In 1927 an addition to the firehouse was started and it was dedicated July 4, 1928. The cost of the project was $13,000. The company continued to upgrade its apparatus with the addition of a 700-gpm American LaFrance pumper in 1938 and an emergency unit in 1940. The unit was equipped with six large searchlights and equipped to be used as an ambulance in case of an emergency. Over the years the company had other apparatus including a 1950 White Squad truck, a 1954 GMC General pumper, a 1960 Ford pumper and an International rescue truck.

In 1966 the Citizen’s Hose Company No. 1 and the Elkwood Fire Company No. 2 merged to form the New Cumberland Fire Department. The transition was not an easy one, what with pride and competition having prevailed between the two companies for so many years, but it was accomplished.

The histories of Cumberland County fire departments are meant to be short, the are not intended to provide an in depth view of the companies. Next time I will feature the New Cumberland Fire Department. This is the place that I say if anyone has any additions or corrections please pass them along, but why bother no one has added anything in almost two years.


Kenny said...

Just a note to let you know, I'm still out here. Still enjoying the history lessons. Keep up the good work.

Woody said...

As am I Brad. I always enjoy the history you post about other departments. Keep up the great work.

Sparky said...

Hey Brad great job. I enjoy reading the history of the fire companies. Just check a date in the fourth paragraph It said they purchased 2 1/2 hose in 1986. Just check if this was a typo... Great jod on the site.

Bradley Myers said...

Thanks, fixed it. It was 1896, some days doing all this typing grows old, now that it is getting nice out it gets harder and harder to keep these up.

Bradley Myers said...

Thanks for commenting and saying you were out their looking all the time, but that is not really what I meant by my last sentence. Many of these calls or histories have more to the story then what I post. There is people reading the post that could add a personal side to it or knowledge of the incident or just a story that would make a great living history. I just wish those people would step up, of course some of them are the first to say that I am in a bad mood again with the comments I leave.