Finally, in January 1956, President Fred Glatz appointed James Waters as Chairman of the Building Committee. In February, Jimmy presented plans for a new building and spoke about the suggestions of the architect and engineers. The plan called for the demolition of the existing firehouse and the construction of a totally new one-story facility incorporating an enlarged apparatus room, a member’s room and a large hall. It was moved, seconded and approved by a unanimous vote that the building committee be empowered to proceed with the new building.
On March 1, a special meeting of the Company was called for approval to purchase the property at 504 Clifton Ave. to serve as the caretaker’s quarters during demolition and construction of the new building. The apparatus was housed in the M. Paul Payne Fuel Co. garage on Clifton Avenue which was generously donated by the owner. A direct phone line was installed between the M. Paul Payne’s garage and the caretaker’s residence to handle fire and ambulance related communications.
In April, a store at 313 Clifton Ave. was rented to serve as a meeting room and storage area during the construction. On May 8th the regular meeting of the Company was held at 313 Clifton Ave. There were 9 officers and members in attendance. Many other members were engaged in salvaging equipment from the firehouse prior to the demolition. The meeting was adjourned until the following Tuesday.
A letter was received from Collingdale #2 offering the use of their meeting room and hall during the construction of the new firehouse but it was felt that the rented building would provide a better solution,
The old firehouse was razed and construction of the new firehouse was started. Several delays were experienced during the construction. Delivery of the steel beams was delayed due to a union strike at the Ryerson Steel Co. Later the roofers union refused to let its members work while non-union workers were present on the work site. The delays were overcome however and construction continued. A motion was approved to authorize the Building Committee to include an addition to the new firehouse plans for a Canteen and a kitchen at a cost of $3,478.00. Several other minor modifications were made to the design of the building throughout the year.
In December, it was reported that the painting of the new building, which was being done by the membership, was partially completed. The Canteen Committee announced plans to hold the New Years Party in the new hall. On January 8, 1957, the regular meeting of Collingdale Fire Co. No. 1 was held in the new firehouse. Past President Fred Glatz installed the new President Frank Diamond. Cost of the firehouse was $85,000.00.
A rising vote of thanks was given to Mr. Waters, the Chairman of the Building Committee, for his tireless efforts in seeing that the building was completed. Paul Payne was made an honorary member of the Company as a sign of gratitude for his generous act of loaning his garages to the Company for housing the apparatus during the construction of the new firehouse.
In July 1956, Collingdale #2 put its rescue Squad into operation.
Further site improvements were made during 1957. The parking lot was paved and new tables and chairs were purchased for the hall to facilitate renting the facility. Russ Lytle built the wall separating the kitchen from what is now hall bar and the cloak room. An acoustic tile ceiling was installed in the hall to overcome an echoing problem resulting from the original plaster ceiling.
The Fourth district requested our participation in setting up a compressed air filling station for Scott Air Packs. It was agreed that we should participate for a cost to the Company of $60.00.
Later that same year yet another new ambulance was purchased from the Sayers & Scoville Sales Corp for the sum of $15,300 less a trade in allowance of $7,000.00. In October 1957, the purchase of a 100’x122’ property with nine garages located behind the firehouse for $6,500.00 was approved. This property is now the parking lot.
In 1958 President Charlie Meiser ordered 500 copies of the new By-Laws and Constitution to be printed for distribution to the members.
Largely through the efforts of Frank Byrne the Company bought a 1941 Buick Ambulance from the Fitzgerald Mercy Hospital to be used as a backup ambulance. After some upgrading, the ambulance was put in service in October. At the time the ambulance was responding to approximately 60 calls per month and there was an increasing number of occurrences when there were two
overlapping calls which made it necessary to transfer one of the calls to a neighboring ambulance service. The second ambulance proved to be a valuable asset to the service even though it was a far cry from responding in the Cadillac.
Continuing the expansion of the Company facilities, the Company purchased a parcel of land and 15 garages located on Hibberd Ave. for the price of $7,500.00. This property is part of the present parking lot. The garages were temporarily used for storage of Company property such as the carnival stands.
As the 50’s close, more new names again appear to mix with the old;
Charlie Meiser, Ernie Jetter, Sam Jillard, George Seifert, Bill Dougherty, Jim McCaughan, Jim Coppola, Jim Elliott, Spitz Henderson, Roy Rogers Jr., Binnie DeGutis, John Casnet, Bill Garrity, Don Armentario, Bill Ellis, Mike and Doug Loftus, Don Felker, Roy Johnson, Sam Arrell, Bob Bull, Ed Glanfield, Bill Ebinger, Spitz Henderson, Ernie Strollo, Bill Ritchie, Tom Rohanna, Joe Shields, Walt Simpson, and Bob Fletcher began to pick up the slack caused by the loss of some of our older members.
A committee of Ed Shive, Charles Wingle, and Ed March was appointed develop a list of service dates for members to enable an accurate determination of qualification of members for their 20 year life membership. The need for the list resulted from changes to the By-Laws which defined specific minimal requirements to be met for a member to qualify for Active and ultimately for Life Membership status which were in addition to simply being a member for the twenty years. Up to this time the determination was made based mainly on the recollection of a few of the older members.
The Ways and Means Committee, always searching for a new way to raise money sponsored a Donkey Baseball game pitting Collingdale #1 & #2 against Briarcliffe Fire Co. It is not certain at this time who won the game. What is certain however is that those who attended and those who participated in the event had a great time.
In 1960, Walt Simpson who, along with Ed March were was the resident electricians of the Company at the time, requested and was granted permission to hold Teen Age Dances in the hall on Friday evenings This activity continued to grow and became a great hit with the teenagers of the area.
A new dance committee was formed in 1961 to expand the already successful teenage dances at the firehouse. This activity, led by Chairman Roy Rogers Jr., included Bill Ebinger, John Harris, Bob Modesto, Frank Savage Jr., Ernie Jetter, John Miller, Lou Mozer and Al Hudson. The Committee arranged for featured entertaineers to perform at the dances and teenagers from a wide area made it a point to attend the dances at No. 1. The success of the teen dances were largely responsible for providing the funds used to purchase a new booster truck in 1963.
The minutes of March, 1961, record the purchase of a new S&S Cadillac ambulance to replace the old Buick. The new ambulance, which was still considered as a back-up was smaller than the primary vehicle.
James Reed passed away on July 4, 1961. Jim was a Charter Member of the Company
In September 1962, the Dance Committee reported a profit of $4301.36 for the first eight months of the year.
In October 1962, Charlie Mollenkopf passed away. Charlie was a Past Captain and had been a member for over 40 years. He typified the pride the older members had in the Company and like the others he was always ready to lend a hand.
A committee was formed In February 1963 to purchase a new truck to replace the old International “Booster Truck” which was built by the members under the direction of John McNeile in 1941.
The new ambulance was received in March of 1963.
In April, it was reported that fourteen bids had been received for the new truck. The committee recommended that the new truck should be designed to retain the function of the “BOOSTER”. It was to be built by Hahn Mfg. Co. on a Ford C700 chassis for the sum of $11,800.00.
The new truck was received in September.
In November, after much discussion, it was decided to sell the old Booster Truck for the best price attainable.
The weekly Dances at the firehouse were stopped in 1964 due to decreasing profits largely resulting from increased costs due to the need for hiring security personnel to control the crowd.