On Thursday October 18th, 1906, twelve concerned citizens of the Borough of Collingdale gathered in Floral Hall to organize a Volunteer Fire Company.
Those in attendance were Joseph F Beswick, J.F.V. Pole, James Artman, Walter T. Pharo, George F. Reach, William R. Harris, Edward R. Gropper, William Benson, H. K. Lewis, L. Stevenson, and a Mr. Mecaskie.
Mr. J.F.V. Pole called the meeting to order. Mr. Joseph Beswick was appointed temporary Chairman and Walter Pharo temporary Secretary.
Upon motion it was agreed to formally organize a Volunteer Fire Company. It was further moved that an election be held to select officers. The following were nominated and unanimously elected; Mr. Joseph F. Beswick-President, Mr. J.F.V. Pole-Vice President, Mr. James Artman-Treasurer, and Mr. Walter T. Pharo-Secretary.
Mr. Pole then addressed the meeting and provided information that he had received as a result of interviews with members of the Philadelphia Fire Department, Lansdowne Fire Department and Fire Department Supply Houses with regard to apparatus and plans for organizing a fire company. Other business included; the formation of a By-Laws committee, a discussion of available types of apparatus and setting up a demonstration of a chemical apparatus to be held on October 27th.
The demonstration was held at the lot at the corner of Clifton and Andrews Avenues. A fire involving lumber, which had been liberally soaked with oil, was lit and was then, extinguished using a “chemical apparatus”. The demonstration was impressive and made it possible for the members to render a good decision regarding the type of apparatus they should purchase.
The Company quickly became operational. At the meeting of November 3rd, Mr. J.F.V. Pole was elected Chief of the Company with H.K. Lewis and Walter T. Pharo to serve as Assistant Chiefs.
The first Treasurer’s Report, submitted on January 5, 1907, showed receipts of $212.63 from house to house collections and disbursements of $205.09 which included the purchase of twelve leather fire buckets and a $5.00 payment to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad for a locomotive tire to be used as the fire alarm.
After much discussion and consultation with active fire companies and after witnessing the demonstration of the chemical apparatus it was agreed that it would be necessary to purchase a chemical engine. By February 1907, just four months after the first meeting, an order was placed with S.F. Hayward & Co. of Philadelphia for a two wheeled, two cylinder, Holloway Type Chemical Engine with sixty feet of hose for the price of $850.00. The apparatus was designed to be horse drawn or hand drawn. Horses were to be supplied by the local citizens at the time of a fire whenever possible. If horses were not available the apparatus could be drawn by hand.
The new apparatus was received by April 1st and by April 4th had responded to its first fire call.
The first house fire reported was for the home of William Marshall which was located at Parker Ave (MacDade Blvd.) and Oak Lane.
The early meetings of the Company were held in Floral Hall which was located at 808 Beechwood Avenue. The first Fire House was located in a stable at Pusey and Sharon Avenues although the apparatus was housed in several locations including the barn of Mr. Rocolette, located at 811 Andrews Ave., which was made available to the Company for both meetings and as a house for the apparatus.
The Company joined the Delaware County Fireman’s Assoc. in April 1907 becoming the sixth member of the Association and thus becoming, what is now known as, STATION ‘06’.
The membership started to grow with fifteen new members joining in January 1907.
Fund raising was the order of the day, including an Oyster Dinner which was held in the basement of the Grace Reformed Episcopal Church. The treasurer’s report of June, 1907, shows a balance on hand of $138.63.
In January 1908, the Delaware County Fireman’s Assn. adopted the first rules governing the response of Companies in mutual aid situations. These rules are the basis for today’s cover-up system in which fire companies wait until called before responding to fires in other communities.
In February 1908, a special committee was appointed to arrange a meeting with a group of ladies from the community for the purpose of organizing a Ladies Auxiliary. By March 7, the Ladies Auxiliary had been organized. The sixteen members immediately made arrangements for an “entertainment and bake” for the 21st of March to raise money for the Company. The Auxiliary continued to provide invaluable assistance and support to the Company until well into the nineties. They could be counted on for assistance in many forms including but not limited to; providing hot coffee and refreshments for the firemen after large fires, preparing the dinners which accompanied the annual Memorial Service, working on the stands at the annual carnival, helping with the ambulance and maintenance drives, and contributing financially to the Company. The cadre of active Auxiliary members had as much pride in Collingdale No. 1 as the regular firemen.
Resourcefulness was necessary in those early days, and help was found in many unusual places. On the morning of June 1st 1908 the Company responded to a fire at John Swartley’s farm. The apparatus was pulled down Parker Ave. to the fire using the trolley sprinkler. The sprinkler was a horse drawn piece of equipment which was used to spray water on the roadway on Parker Ave to keep the dust down. It was pulled along the trolley tracks which ran along the roadway.
In September 1908, a special meeting was held for the purpose of signing the Charter of the Fire Company. Thirty six members were present for the signing.
Collingdale Fire Co. #1
In 1909 the chemical engine which had two wheels was modified to include two additional wheels for the sum of approximately $200.00. This change improved the handling and transport of the apparatus by easing the requirement of keeping the machine balanced while it was being pulled.
In addition to getting organized, the company began to serve the community in other ways. The members undertook the task of running the Collingdale July Fourth Celebration with unquestionable success. The records show, that in 1909, the cost for the 4th of July festivities amounted to $248.34 which included $115.00 for a band which was hired for the day, $55.00 for fireworks and $65.00 for refreshments. (Things were sure simpler in those days). The Company continued to provide the 4th of July celebration for many years.
In July 1909, realizing the need to find a home for itself, the Company appointed a committee to investigate the purchase of a building lot of not less than fifty feet front. The committee took their charge very seriously and at the August 1910 meeting the Board of Trustees announced the purchase of a property at the corner of Clifton and Bedford Aves, from Ray Pitman, Isaac Bedford and George H. Custer for the sum of $500. Up to this time, the Company meetings were held in several sites including Floral Hall which was located at 808 Beechwood Ave. Mr. Campbell, the owner of Floral Hall, was granted Honorary Membership in the Company due to his generosity in allowing the Hall to be used as a meeting place for the Company since its inception.
In 1910, the membership dues were increased from ten cents per month to twenty five cents per month. The dues have not been increased since this change became effective. It was also noted that during 1910 the apparatus was, at times, pulled to the scene of a fire using automobiles.
At the meeting of July 1, 1911 a committee of five men was appointed to develop plans for a firehouse. . On June 1, 1913, when James S. Carpenter was president, a contract was signed with William S. North to build firehouse at a cost of $6,495.00. $4000.00 was borrowed from Laura V. Dale at that time to finance it. On March 5th, 1913, the floor in the meeting room was lowered one foot. The excavation and floor lowering at that time cost $45.00. On December 1st, 1913, a contract was signed to build a jail for the Borough Hall at the rear of the firehouse. The cost of the addition was $322.00. On August 21, 1924, lots at Andrews and Clifton Ave. were purchased for $3000.00. About 6 months later these were sold for $4500.00, profit $1500.00.
|J. Atkins||C. H. Fissel||Andrew Patton|
|Harry Backers||Joseph B. Glover||Edgar Pharo|
|William H. Bell||E. P. Gropper||Walter T. Pharo|
|Joseph F. Beswick||Joseph Johnson||J. F. V. Pole|
|John Boyd||Paul D. Johnson||George F. Reach|
|Ellwood Chapman||William Joyce||James Reed Jr.|
|F. Chyezensky||Ed Kauffman||George F. Renwick|
|William Collison||Robert W. Marsh Sr.||George W. Sterling|
|Robert G. Curran||Charles Marshall||William Toogood|
|William Curran||Albert McCausland||Theodore Voss|
|George H. Custer||Robert Mitchell||Ernest Voss Sr.|
|John S. Dougan||Rueben C. Mousley||Clarence Weir|