WINCHESTER, VA, AND ITS FIREMEN.
WINCHESTER, VA., has been chosen as the place of meeting of the Virginia State Firemen’s Association on July 7, 8, 9, of this year. It is a city of nearly 7,000 inhabitants and the county seat of Fred crick county, and is situated in the lower pait of the Shenandoah vallty. Historically it is interesting as the scene of many fights in the Franco Indian Revolutionary war of 1812, and the Civil war, during the course of which struggle the city changed hands seventy-eight times between 1861 and 1865.
Though still showing many ancient landmarks Winchester is full of modern buildings. Its streets boast five up-to-date business blocks, while in other parts of the city, the visitors will see beautifully built residences, with spacious grounds handsomely and artistically laid out. ‘The streets are well paved and macadamized and lit up by electricity, and every improvement in the way of telephone and telegraph is to be found. It has well endowed educational institutes, a public library, many churches, and hotels, two prosperous banks, and several building and loan associations,a number of factories, affording employment to many persons, a fine water system, towards building which Charles Broadway Kouss, the blind New York millionaire merchant, formerly of W.ncl.ester.contributed $30 -000, and a first-class volunteer fire department which claims to be the largest, most efficient, and Test disciolined in the Stale. Towards it also Mr. Kouss has contributed generously.
The fire department consists of five companies with a Unit 450 unifotnied men and a total of nearly tyx> members. The Friendship fire company No. t is the oldest. It was organized in 1831, had a steam fire engiue in 1889. and was incorporated in 1890. Its hall in Fast Cork street is a handsome new one, and was built at a cost of about $5,000. In it arc a lai France engine, a hand engine, a beautiful parade hose carriage, three hose carts, and one racing reel. The company has an excellent uniformed hand of twenty five members, and a uniformed racing team which has carried off many prizes in recent years. The company has also won prizes in steam engine contests, for having the largest membership, as well as for being the best uniformed. Its membetship is about 325, of whom 155 are uniformed. Its president is Captain James M Haymaker. The Union steam fire company No.a, is two years younger than Friendship. It purchased its first steamer in 18S8, and was incorporated in 1896. Itsfire house, which cost $15,000 is one of the handsomest buildings in the city, and probably the finest in the State—the finest in the South.it is claimed. It houses a Silsby steam fire engine, a hand engine,a parade hose carriage, three hose-carts,and one racing hose reel with ball bearings and cushion tires, weighing only 190 pounds. It has a band consisting of twenty five uniformed men, well equipped with silver instruments, a uniformed racing team of twenty members, who hold under the rules of the Maryland State Firemen’s Association the championship of the world, having lowered the record to thirty-eight seconds and two-thirds of a second. Out of its 250 members 145 are uniformed. Its president is Captain G. H. Kinzel. Thedate of the organization of the Sarah Zane steam fire engine company No. I, was 1840; of its first steamer, 1887. Its hall, built in 1879 at a cost of about $3,000. has been greatly improved since that time. The steam fire engine used by the company is a Silsby, and there are besides in the house a hand engine, two hose carriages, and one hose cart. Its drum corps consists of eighteen uniformed members, well equipped. Twenty uniformed men make up its racing team with a good record for capturing prizes. Its full membership is 175, of whom 106 are uniformed. Its president is Captain R. I,.Gray. The Kouss hook and ladder company, of seventy five members—forty uniformed—was organized in 1877 and reorganized in 1894. It has a comfortable and commodious house, in which is a hook and ladder truck built by Charles Holloway of Haltimore. Its president is Captain Stewart Bell. The South End hose company was organized in 1895. It has two hose carts and its president is Robert W. Hayward, who has fifty men—thirty four uniformed—under his command.
The executive committee under the presidency of Dr. Julian F. Ward is making every preparation for the success of the convention—the eleventh, and is ably seconded by the transportation, and public comfort committee and Joseph E. Eiger, the corresponding secretary. Cash prizes to the amount of $600, will be given away for steam fire engine contest (two prizes), prize drill, hook and ladder contest, hose race (for Virginia State firemen’s associations only—(two prizes), hose races, open to all companies in the world ($230), and the largest uniformed company in the grand parade. There will be a good display of both small and large exhibits of fire apparatus from leading manufacturers.
The program is as follows; Wednesday, July 7—Reception of delegates, guests, and visiting companies with banquet; in the evening the convention meets in the city hall—open to all; hu’ si lay—Amusements; grand parade in afternoon. band concerts and fireworks in evening; FridayContests, winding up with presentation of prizes at the city hall.