This is our 1914 hose cart which was the first (and at that time the ONLY) fire fighting apparatus in Lewiston. This picture was taken in front of the Frontier House.
This picture is our 1937 Ward LaFrance taken at our old hall on Center St. The following people shown are as follows:
Back Row: Norman Walker, Chaffen Chittenden, Hulbert Bullis
Seated: Emerson Walker, Victor Van Den Bosch
Front Row: Tom Eustave, William James
Here is a picture of past chief Sid Smith by the 1937 Ward LaFrance with what appears to be him making some adjustments.
Here is a group photo that was taken in 1949.
And here is another group photo that was taken during the 50th Anniversary celebration of Lewiston #1 Fire Co. in 1964.
This photo is a shot of Lewiston #1 Fire Apparatus taken in 1964, Shown in the picture from L to R is a 1962 Ward LaFrance Pumper, a 1961 “Emergency Car” (ambulance), a 1954 John Bean Pumper, a 1937 Ward LaFrance, a 1961 Chevrolet, a 1961 Tanker, and a 1955 Jeep.
At the cornerstone laying of the Sixth Street Fire Hall, Secretary Roy Harms made the following statement, “The work of a volunteer fireman is never done. We will try to improve our company, look into the future and dedicate our lives or a good portion of them to eating smoke and saving lives.” The comment is indicative of the matter-of-fact manner of volunteer fireman in all towns and villages in their approach to one of the most valuable services to their communities. Lewiston Fire Company #1 was formed in 1914 as a bucket brigade. At that time, each member was required to keep two buckets in a handy place, ready to grab should the Presbyterian Church bell ring. This was the first fire alarm system for the village.
In 1916, the village acquired from the Town of Albion a hose reel plus a hook and ladder which could be either horse or man drawn. The year 1917 was historic for the village. Twenty-Five men joined together and on May 5th became incorporated as Lewiston Fire Company #1. Lawrence Burke was President of the village board and Ralph Hotchkiss the clerk when the Board of Trustees consented to the formation of a fire corporation in the village. From that time enrollment has always included a Walker, a Perrigo, a Piper, or a Toohey. N. Emerson Walker, a past President. and past Chief, now deceased had over 60 years of active service. Among the charter members at the incorporation were Fred S. Murphy, Harry Scott, John Brasser, Harry McIntyre, William James and Glen R. Bedenkapp, who retired from the Public Service Commission.
In February of 1921, Mr William James was elected President and Fred Toohey Secretary/Treasurer, positions they both held for seventeen years. Fred Perrigo was the first fire chief. The first meeting was held in the Board of Trade building. In succeeding years, meetings were held in Perrigo’s Garage, Lewiston Village School, and the Center Street Fire Hall.
In March of 1926, the treasury of the fire company had a total balance of $224.41. Village voters, by a vote of 85 to 67, allocated $6500.00 to purchase a chemical fire truck, an alarm system and a building to house the fire truck.
In 1927, a one bay hall with a siren on top was erected at 444-446 Center Street. Also during this year, the Sanborn Fire Company and Lewiston Fire Company #1 persuaded the area State Senator and Assemblyman to pass a special law allowing the Town to raise a fire tax for the Town of Lewiston which included the Village.
The Company had a new spurt of expansion in 1934 when it joined the Niagara County Fireman’s Association. Regular monthly meetings were held and fines were instituted. Harlan E. Walker Sr. was granted the first exemption papers. The first annual field day was held on July 4th. More hose and equipment was purchased and a janitor hired to clean the equipment and hall at a notable salary of $10.00 per month. The Lewiston Rifle Club Band, its instruments and treasury of $69.62 became a worthy addition. Names of the band members who joined the fire company with club membership included Harry Van Luven, Boyd Brasser, Larry Neville, Orville Perrigo, Donald Anderson, Harold Howard, Homer Clark, N. Emerson Walker, Robert and Way Stevens, George Scott, John Allen, Donald and Pat Broeker, Thomas Eustice, Edward Johnston, and James Vevirit. Annual Spring Dances were also instituted.
In 1937 the company joined the New York State Fireman’s Association. Following the disbanding of the Rifle Club Band, the Niagara Hose and Drum Corp. were hired to accompany the fire company at parades. A Ward LaFrance pumper was placed in service and is still in the fire company fleet. In 1940, a used tank truck was acquired to assist in fighting fires outside the Village Limits.
The War Years:
Many members were removed from the active roster while they served in the armed forces but the company carried on in a true fireman’s tradition. Participating in tin and scrap metal drives, clothing drives and blood banks. In 1942, the company was the recipient of the Lewiston-Queenston Rotary Club Award “For Exemplary Community Service”.
The Post War Years and the Fifties: A new use for the siren was added when on November 5th, 1947 it was blown for the first time as a curfew to remind young ones that it was time to go home. The property, which is the site of the present fire hall, was purchased in 1950. The membership was expanded from 60 to 100 and an emergency car was added to the vehicles of the fire company. For four years the planning of the fire company building was one of the biggest items of discussion at meetings.
In 1951, a Ford Tanker was purchased and placed into service.
In 1953, a John Bean high pressure pumper was purchased for the company by the Village.
In 1955, donations were collected from area from area households for a 1955 Chevrolet ambulance.
Dreams were realized on February 13, 1955 when the official cornerstone laying was effected for the present serviceable and attractive combination firehall and recreation building. Fingers and toes were chilled in a temperature that hovered a few degrees above zero on that afternoon. The cornerstone was donated by Roger Wolcott Hooker, an honorary member. President N. Emerson Walker was Master of ceremonies and Village Mayor Ashton C. McEvoy, also a fire company member, spoke briefly in appreciation. He called the building a “symbol of independence of a company which was able to take care of itself.
The Sixties and beyond:
In 1960, with funds from individuals and weekly bingo, the fire company acquired a new Cadillac Ambulance. Through the years, the fire company has replaced the ambulance every ten years.
In 1962, a Ward LaFrance pumper was placed in service.
In 1966, the fire hall was expanded to house more equipment and seat larger crowds upstairs.
In 1968, a new base station radio was placed into service and in 1969, a tone generator was purchased to allow Lewiston No. 1 to dispatch its own calls. Also, the company purchased an 80 ft. American LaFrance Snorkel.
In 1970, the Ladies Auxiliary purchased a new ambulance in 1970 for the fire company.
In 1974, a 1500 GPM Ward LaFrance Custom Pumper was purchased and equipped with large diameter hose to serve as a supply truck.
In 1976, two more vehicles were purchased two more vehicles, a 1000 GPM Ward LaFrance Custom Pumper and a Saulsbury Mini-Pumper. The latter was purchased to use as a rescue truck and also handles grass and vehicle fires.
In 1978, the ’64 Ward Lafrance was rebuilt, painted and powered by a Detroit Diesel engine. The company also purchased a Ford pickup to be used as a utility vehicle.
In 1980, a Yankee Coach Type III ambulance was placed in service to replace the Cadillac.
In 1982, with the increase of serious vehicle accidents, the fire company placed in service an Amkus Rescue Tool (Jaws of Life) which was purchased by the Ladies Auxiliary for the company.
In 1985 a new Emergency One Mini-Pumper was acquired to be used as a rescue truck and for use at vehicle and grass fires.
In 1987, committees were formed to investigate the purchase of two more vehicles, another pumper and a fire/rescue boat.
In the spring of 1988, a new 22 ft McKee Craft rescue boat with twin 150 hp Yamaha engines was placed in service. This craft was funded through a grant from the State of New York. At the regular meeting in March, 1988, bids were accepted for a new American Eagle 1500 GPM custom pumper. The price of this vehicle was approximately $197,000. Compare this with the $3,600 spent on a new truck in 1937! This new vehicle incorporates a ten-man, four door, fully enclosed cab eliminating the hazard of firefighters riding the tailboard of the vehicle. During the next three years, the company purchased pocket pagers for over half of the members. This enables the men to be available on call even when not home or within hearing distance of the fire sirens.