ITS FIRE DEPARTMENT AND WATER SERVICE.
Minneapolis, the city in which the National Association of Fire Engineers is to hold its annual convention this year, is one of the marvels of this age. No other city in the country has enjoyed so remarkable a growth, and the growth of the city is all the more remarkable since it has been almost paralleled by that of St. Paul. The business portions of these two cities are separated by only about ten miles, while their corporate limits join one another. All the Intervening space is rapidly building up, and to all intents and purposes the two cities are one as far as their business importance is concerned. When the census was taken in 1875, Minneapolis had a population of 32,493, and St. Paul a population of 33.178. In 1880 the population of Minneapolis had reached 46,887, and St. Paul 41,498. From this period on the growth has been even more rapid, the State census taken in 1885 showing that Minneapolis had a population of 129,200, and that St. Paul had a population of 111,397. The city directories just issued show that Minneapolis has a population of 185,000, and St. Paul a population of 175,000, these figures being based upon the lowest multiplier used, two and one-half persons to each directory name.
Minneapolis has been chiefly known for her manufacture of flour, although she is great in other directions. Her mills have a capacity for manufacturing about 36,000 barrels of flour daily. Her saw mills manufacture annually over 300,000,000 feet of lumber, and about these two chief manufacturing industries are gathered a vast number of minor manufacturing industries which have contributed to the marvelously rapid growth of the city. The flour industry made Minneapolis the principal wheat market in the country. During 1887 the receipts of flour in Minneapolis reached 45,502,000 bushels ; in Chicago they amounted to only 2r,748,000 ; in Duluth to only 17,808,000 bushels, while New York alone reached anywhere near the aggregate of the receipts in Minneapolis, the receipts in that city being 45,222,000 bushels. During the current year the excess of the receipts in Minneapolis over those of any other city in the country is even more marked, and the magnificent crop now coming on promises to result in Minneapolis becoming an even more prominent market. The miscellaneous manufactories in Minneapolis turned out a product valued at $40,000,000 last year, and the jobbing trade of the city, exclusive of grain, flour and manufactured goods jobbed by the manufacturers, reached 138,530,600. With these omissions included the volume of the jobbing trade of the city reached the handsome figure of $^6,400,000 during 1887. Of course, all this marvelous growth and material prosperity has an explanation that lies in the fact that westward beyond the city, even to the Pacific coast, is a fertile region seeking Minneapolis and St. Paul as their principal supply and distributing market.
The delegates to the National Convention have an interest naturally in the fire department of the city. Probably nowhere else in the East has the necessity grown so rapidly for extension of the facilities for protection from fire as in this stirring Western metropolis. No other city council and no other head of a fire department has ever been confronted with the necessity of building in each year what suffices in most cities to make a permanent and efficient equipment.
The splendid department which Minneapolis now boasts is comparatively of recent evolution from the volunteer department of the early days of the city. The growth of Minneapolis has been so rapid, particularly within the last ten years, as to almost be beyond the comprehension of those who have not been entirely familiar with it. Ten years ago the volunteer department, with all its fellowship and its exciting and comparative insufficiency, was ample for all the fire protection needed in the then village. The history of the organizations for protection from fire in Minneapolis covers only about thirty years. It was not until 1857 that an organization of any kind existed whose object was protection against accidental fire or the torch of the incendiary.
It was in July of that year that a meeting of the citizens of what was then St. Anthony, b u t which is now known as a part of Minneapolis, was held and an organization effected. Timothy Bohan presided over the meeting, which resulted in the organization of a hook and ladder company, of which Henry Carran was elected foreman. The truck was built in St. Anthony, and the company was ready for duty in October. In November a fire occurred, which is generally supposed to have been started by some mischievous party to test the utility of the new company. The fire was in an old house on the east side of Main street, used at the lime as a stable. The experiment resulted in the destruction of the building and the cremation of an unfortunate cow, the only occupant.
In 1S59 a fire company was organized, with John Dunham as foreman, and an engine—the Minnesota—was ordered from Button & Blake of New York. The company was an independent one and furnished its own building, as did also the hook and ladder company.
The same year the city council purchased two engines made at St. Anthony—the Cataract and Germania. Of the companies associated with these, James S. Lane was foreman of the Cataract and Godfrey Boehme of the Germania. Six months after the arrival of the Minnesota the city accepted the services of the company as a volunteer association, assumed the indebtedness incurred in the purchase of the engine, and provided necessary buildings.
The first chief of the fire department was James S. Lane. No changes of special note occurred until the consolidation with the West Side, as hereinafter mentioned.
The first organization on the West Side was called the Millers Fire Association, in 1865, and owned its origin to W. M. Brackett, then a young man exployed as bookkeeper of Eastman, Gibson & Co., proprietors of the Cataract and Union flouring mills and the North Star woolen mills.
The splendid organization of the volunteer department of 1880, the partially paid department of the years that followed and the full-paid department which the city now boasts, are due in a large measure toW. M. Brackett, who, besides being a good fireman, was a splendid organizer. Although he has now retired from the service, the stamp of his handiwork is on the department, and the men who were trained under him and who were his efficient aids have been entrusted to carry on the work, and this they have done efficiently and well.
It was upon Mr. Brackett’s repeated and earnest solicitation that the organization was effected, its equipment consisting of a rotary pump in the basement of the Cataract mill, 500 feet of hose, a hose jumper, spanners, nozzles, etc. A hose company was organized among the millowners, with George A. Brackett of the firm of Eastman, Gibson & Co. as foreman. George A. Brackett was the first chief of the Minneapolis Fire Department.
In the fall of 1867 the Holly system of waterworks was introduced, but not completed until the spring of 1868. The formal organization of the fire department was in J-nuary, 1868, embracing the following companies : Minneapolis Hose Company No. 1, Mutual Hose Company No. 2, and Minneapolis Hook and Ladder Company No. r. Its numerical strength was about 150 volunteers, with the following official roster: George A. Brackett, chief; R. B. Langdon, first assistant, and Paris Gibson, second assistant. The hose, jumper, etc., of the Millers Fire Association was purchased and placed with No. r. Late in the forenoon of February 6, 1868, the efficiency of the new fire department and the water-works was submitted to a trial, at a fire in a dwelling house, corner of High and Minnetonka streets. The department acquitted itself creditably, but the water-works proved inadequate to the occasion, and the fire was extinguished by the use of buckets, axes, etc. The first mains were of sheet-iron and cement, and a break prevented the necessary pressure, while the water at best was thick with dirt. Of course the “ dawpluckers” and wiseacres reiterated their previously expressed belief in the failure of the Holly system. The defective pipe was replaced by iron pipes the following fall, and was thereafter effective. February S the city council authorized the purchase of 600 feet of rubber hose, a four-wheeled hose carriage, a hook and ladder truck, four play-pipes and twelve axes. Other purchases were made from time to time, though it was long before the department was furnished with a full equipment or provided with suitable buildings.
On September ro, 1868, the Minneapolis Fireman’s Relief Association was organized, the object of which needs no explanation. The association has done noble work and is in a flourishing condition, “a monument to the sympathy and fraternal feeling so characteristic of true firemen.” The first parade occurred on September 24, when the Minneapolis department joined the St. Anthony department in their annual parade. A notable event in the history of the Minneapolis Fire Department was the firemen’s Slate parade held at this place in 1869, at which time the “Minneapolis boys” won a reputation for hospitality for which they have ever been held since in the most kindly remembranco. With the consolidation of the cities of St. Anthony and Minneapolis, in 1872, the new charter provided that the city be divided into two fire departments, each side retaining the equipage, buildings, etc., then in their possession, practically leaving them as separate and distinct as (hough separa’ed by the ocean instead of the river. In September, 1874, the Gamewell fire alarm system was introduced in the west division, and in October the capacity of the water-works was increased to 3 500,000 gallons of water per day.
Horses were purchased or hired and drivers permanently employed in the several companies in 1875 ; also an engineer and fireman of the steamers and a tillerman for the hook and ladder truck. The following year the Gamewell fire alarm system was extended to the east division, and the two cities were furnished telegraphic communication. By a revision of the city charter in April, 1878, the two fire departments were consolidated, and an election of officers held with the following result: W. C. Stetson, formerly chief of the east division, first assistant, and C. Fredericks, a charter member of Hook and Ladder Company No. I, and once its foreman, second assistant. The rapid growth of the city and the corresponding increase of the duties of the fire department soon became too great for a volunteer organization, and in 1879 they asked to be relieved, and that the city assume the support and maintenance of the department, which was done.
The work of reorganizing the department upon a paid basis was intrusted to Mr. Brackett. About this time W. C. Stetson retired as first assistant chief, and was succeeded by C. Frederichs, a brother of Mr. Stetson (F. L. Stetson) succeeding to the position of second assistant. F. L. Stetson is now the efficient chief of the fire department, and his handsome face is shown in the accompanying illustration.
In December of 1881 Mr. Frederichs was killed in an explosion at one of the flour mills which had taken fire. Mr. Stetson was at once advanced to the position of first assistant chief, and was succeeded by Gus Runge as second assistant chief of the fire department.
VV. M. Brackett, after a long service, resigned his position as chief, and Mr. Stetson was advanced to the first place and Mr. Runge to that of first assistant, Mr. Kinney, who had been foreman of one of the hook and ladder companies, being promoted to the position of second assistant. For the past six years these men have commanded the fire department of the city and have brought it up to its present splendid efficiency.
In 1882, when Mr. Brackett withdrew, the department consisted of sixty-seven officers and men, and their equipments of two steam fire engines, five hose carriages, two hook and ladder trucks, one chemical engine and three hose earls. The department was housed in seven substantial buildings. The united cost of maintaining the department was then $44,687. Minneapolis at that time was a city of 70,000 population. The entire water supply of the city was taken from one pumping station by direct pressure.
Such, in brief, is the history of the department. From this beginning it has grown to its present proportions, until it is now composed of a force of 185 men, including one chief engineer, one first assistant engineer, one second assistant engineer, twenty-two captains, twenty-two lieutenants, eleven engineers of steamers, eleven assistant engineers of steamers, thirty-nine pipemen and truckmen of the first grade, thirty-six pipemen and truckmen of the second grade and thirty-six drivers. Ilssides these there are a clerk, a superintendent of horses and veterinary surgeon, a superintendent of fire alarm telegraph and one assistant and one gateman. The equipments of the department consist of five engines first-class, six engines second-class, one engine second-class (old, In reserve), fourteen hose carriages, six chemical engines, five hook and ladder trucks, one supply wagon, one fire alarm wagon, and four chief’s buggies and four chiefs sleighs, fifteen exercising wagons and seventeen sets of bob-sleds. There are 107 horses in the service, and for the comfort of the sick and injured horses a hospital has recently been built.
The telegraph department consists of 102 miles of wire and poles, one ten-circuit repeater, 420 cells of battery, 154 fire alarm boxes, twenty enginehouse, and ten engineers gongs, and one fourcircuit repeater and one bell striker not in service. The department is housed in twenty substantial brick buildings, some of them modern in their appointments and all of them provided with the best known equipments. The city has in apparatus and equipments $130,475, in buildings $130,370, in real estate $157,800, and in fire alarm property $35,140. The net cost of maintaining the department last year was $217,295.36, and last year $60,094.75 was expended for new buildings and lots. The fire losses in the city last year were $518,423 41, and the insurance paid $435,716 54.
The water supply in Minneapolis is wholly by the direct pressure system and is taken from the Mississippi river. Up to three years ago the entire supply of the city was taken from the river just above the falls ; on the west side of the river the propelling power for the pumps being the water power. The east side of the river was supplied by the mains being laid under the bed of the river. This was the original station and is still the chief one, and from the pumps located in this building the greater portion of the city is supplied. This pumping station is located in the midst of the great mills, which have made the name of Minneapolis famous. Three years ago there was built on Hennepin Island a second pumping station, designed to supply more particularly the east division, although the systems of mains from both stations are now fully connected. There is nearly completed a third pumping station located up the river about three miles from the heart of the city. The pumps in this station are to be propelled by steam power, and this will be the first application of steam for the propelling of the pumps supplying the city with water. This new station has been located in a handsome and modern building which forms the subject of an illustration.
[A special cut of the new pumping station was made for this issue of FIRE AND WATER, but failed to reach us in time for insertion in this article.]
The building is built of pressed brick and cut stone and covers a surface of 17,190 square feet. It is divided into six apartments—namely, engine, boiler and coal rooms, machine shop and two offi res. There is one large tower seventy-five feet high and four corner towers, each fifty-four feet high. The chimney, which was finished a few days ago, is 140 feet high and seven feet in diameter. The entrance to the building is on the north side, and the offices are on either side of the entrance. Directly opposite the entrance is the engine-room, which is 18 x 60 feet. Back of it are the coal and boiler-rooms, 72 x 37 and 84 x 44 feet respectively. The ceiling of the engine-room is being finished in red oak. The machine shop east of the boiler-room is 20 x 20 feet. There will be six boilers in the building. They are massive boilers, fifteen feet six inches in length and nine feet six inches in diameter, with two corrugated furnaces to each boiler. The boilers when equipped will weigh twenty-seven tons each, being about eighteen tons heavier than any boilers ever made in Minnesota. The pumps are being made by the Worthington Pump Company of New York, and their contract requires that the pumps be in operation by November 1, under a penalty of $50 a day thereafter. They will have a capacity of 15,000,000 gallons each. The total cost of the plant will be about $300,000. The building is hardly finished and the pumps at this writing have not yet been put in motion. Several projects have been put on foot for the application of the reservoir system for the water service of the city, but thus far the project has not been carried into effect. The latest and newest station has been demanded by the necessity of securing purer and better water than it has been possible to get at the two water power pump stations on the falls, which are located in the heart of the city with large, thickly settled sections extending on either side the river and fully three miles from the point where they draw the water from the mains. The original pumping station on the west side of the river has a capacity of 20,000,000 gallons and contains three pumps, the plant being designed by Mr.Waters, long the superintendent of the water department of the city, and known as “ Jumbos.” In addition to these there is one vertical and two horizontal pumps, also built by Mr. Waters. At the east side station there is a “ Jumbo ” pump of a capacity of 10,000,000 gallons. In the new station situated near the mouth of Shingle creek there have been placed two high duty pumps of the Worthington pattern, and of 45,000,000 gallons capacity. The building contains room for two more pumps, which will be placed whenever necess:ty may require. There are now t22 miles of water mains throughout the city. Last year something over thirty-two miles of new mains were laid and eighteen miles more have been ordered for this year, and are in process of being laid. It is at this rate that the extension of the water system of Minneapolis is being forced by circumstances. Extensive as it now is, it is below the require ments of the city, which is scattered over a wide area ; in fact, the city authorities have been under the necessity of making large expenditures every year in the vain attempt to keep up with the phenomenal growth of the city with their improvements in the matter of water supply and fire department. The whole number of hydrants in the city is now 1410, of which 1382 are post hydrants and twenty-six flush or surface.
The delegates to the National Convention will find that Minneapolis is not only a wonderful city in all its material aspects, but that she is as well a beautiful city, surrounded, as she is, by lakes and other natural attractions. The falls of St. Anthony, with their great water power, are responsible for the earliest prosperity of the city. Almost within the city limits are located the falls of Minnehaha, made famous by Longfellow, and which are annually visited by thousands of people. Westward from the city about twelve miles is situated Lake Minnetonka, some faint idea of which body of water may be conveyed by the accompanying illustrations. The engineers will undoubtedly have an opportunity to visit the lakes and Minnehaha falls before they leave the city. Within the limits of Minneapolis are located, also, lakes Calhoun, Harriett and the Lake of the Isles. These the people of Minneapolis have with rare discernment and foresight embodied in their comprehensive park system, surrounded the lakes by boulevards and laid the foundation for such a distribution of the beauties of the city as cannot well be now estimated. The city is so young and so new that the architecture is all modern, and although but a few years have elapsed since the site of the metropolis was almost a wilderness, the streets are lined with trees, and there is everywhere evidences of taste and an appreciation of the beautiful. In addition to the park ways about the lakes already mentioned, several large plats of land have been made into attractive parks, which are daily the resort of thousands of people.