Among the buffs
BUFFS—and not a few firemen— in the area of Redwood City, Calif., are looking forward to the eentury celebration of the Redwood Fire Department starting September 19. Captain Alfred Hund, Fire Department Headquarters, 1044 Middlefield Rd., Redwood City, tips us off that a feature of the celebration will be the display of a piano-style rig acquired by the department in 1862, which we Civil War buffs know is a heap of time ago. The rig, to those of us still young enough not to have seen horse-drawn apparatus —much less hand-drawn equipment— was a hand pumper built by Cowing and Co., Seneca Falls, N. Y.
The enjine was paid for by monthly dues, contributions, and the proceeds of the first annual ball, says Captain Hund, and Redwood citizenry took pride in their galloping ghost made of mahogany and trimmed in “shining brass. The piano pride arrived in San Francisco on September 13, 1862, and was delivered in Redwood City on September 22, 1862. The century mark in Redwood City will be celebrated with dedication of the Fireboat Richard Drivon, dinners, demonstrations, and parades.
While we’re on the subject, I’m reminded that Ocean Grove, N. J.’s E. H. Stokes Fire Company, No. 3 has published a comprehensive company history. William N. Schwartz of the fire company, P. O. Box 104, tells the “The Story of Stokes” from 1886 to 1961.
A few excerpts: “At the second meeting of the company on November 27, 1886, members voted to forbid profane language or drunkenness in the club room or while in service. … In January, 1887, the Stokes Company voted that tobacco should not be allowed to be used at anytime in the company’s meeting room. This was in keeping with the ideas of the elder leaders of the community of this period.” (Note to Associate Editor Frank Hanifin: Aren’t you glad the ‘elder leaders’ at FIRE ENGINEERING don’t mind: 1. Your pipes; and 2. your seegars?)
The report tells of the time the Stokes stalwarts were unable to find a horse to drag the chemical enjine to a fire, so ran it up themselves in the record time of 20 minutes. Another time (no doubt after that earlier exhausting experience) the Stokes fire laddies hitched the rig to a trolley car which dragged the apparatus to a fire in Belmar. After that occasion they were known as the Ding-Dong Daddies of the “D” Car Line.
Things finally reached the point where the board of fire commissioners augustly voted to pay $3 to the owner of the first team of horses arriving at the engine house to drag the chemical engine to the fire. You never saw so many horses outside a rodeo after that. A pretty horsey set, those Stokes pokes. Brer Schwartz says he’ll send copies of the history to all who send him 50 cents to cover the cost of mailing and handling.
Call it the devious means by which reporters get their news, but the following bit about New York comes to Los Angeles by way of San Francisco, courtesy of Irving “Doc” Levin, editor of the Phoenix Society’s Phoenician News. At the 22nd Annual Dinner of the New York Fire Bell Club, the Bureau of Fire Communications under Assistant Chief Tom O’Brien cut in a local via ’phone pair from die Manhattan Fire Alarm office. Thus were the buffs provided with tapper service during the course of the dinner. P.S.: Only three boxes hammered in.
If you don’t think buffs are a group of joiners then read no further. Comes now this column’s energetic correspondent, Jeff Schwartz, 1032 Waveland Avenue, Chicago 13, Ill., to report the formation of The National Junior Fire Fans Association.
“Since I am one of the younger fans 1 have been interested in the idea of a Junior Fire Fans Association for a few years,” writes Jeff. “However, it was not until I received a copy of the Fire Buffs Newsletter put out by Bob Sams of Birmingham, Ala., which gave the names of other young buffs that I decided to take action.”
That Jeff took immediate action is shown by the fact that he has a roster of members “between the ages of 12 and 31 from all over the country.” Officers are: Jeff, president; Joe Pitzer, 933 Coolidge Street, Westfield, N. J., first vice president; Jim Burrows, Box 224, Kennebunkport, Me., second vice president; Jim Regan, 94 Greenwood Street, Law’rence, Mass., secretary, eastern division; and Arthur Behan, 2009 Angelrodt Street, St. Louis, Mo., secretary, western division. Jeff will be happy to send all interested buffs an application blank. No dues.
Until I hitch my piano-style typewriter to a Stokes trolley next month, I’ll look forward to your news notes and reports. Address: the same. 4234 Don Diablo Dr., Los Angeles 8. Sorry, but letters cannot be answered other than through this column. □□