Then and Now #7: Warrenton West Fire Departments|
Franklin, Granville, Person, Rockingham, Vance, and Warren counties
Welcome to a feature where
historian Mike Legeros
presents early twentieth-century summaries of North Carolina fire
departments as recorded by the Sanborn Map Company for their fire
insurance maps. In addition to detailed information about streets,
buildings, and water supplies, the cartographers also recorded fire
protection information including personnel, apparatus, and alarm systems.
Fire department facilities varied in size during this period, with hose
houses requiring only enough space to store a hand-drawn hose reel.
Dedicated fire stations housing horse-drawn apparatus were larger, though
sometimes the horses were stabled elsewhere.
As fire protection shifted from general citizens to formal fire companies,
building sizes increased with meeting rooms and later sleeping quarters.
With the transition to smaller motor apparatus, fire station sizes
decreased and departments with buildings designed to accommodate horses
found themselves with extra space available for other municipal purposes.
Henderson fire department in 1926
Henderson, Vance County
Three paid men, 20 volunteers. One horse. Fire
station at City Hall, 11-12 Garnett Street. One American LaFrance
triple combination automobile truck, with 900 gallons per minute pump, 40
gallon chemical tank, 250 feet chemical hose, and 1,200 feet 2 1/2-inch
hose. One hose wagon with 600 feet 2 1/2-inch hose. 1,000-feet 2
1/2-inch hose in reserve. Total hose: 2,800 feet 2 1/2-inch cotton, rubber
lined. Gamewell fire alarm system, 15 boxes. Alarms by bell on City Hall
tower. Telephones at fire department and pumping station. Population
Two fire stations, seven pieces of fire apparatus, 36 career members,
and 12 part-time members protecting 10.5 square miles. Population 16,484.
Leaksville-Spray (now Eden), Rockingham County
Two volunteer companies of 10 men each. Fire station at 4 Monroe Street,
Leaksville: Two Ford Type D 20 HP automobile chemical engines with two three-gallon
chemical tanks and 250 feet 3/4-inch chemical hose. One
hose reel with 600 feet 2 1/2-inch hose with couplings to fit mill
hydrants. Two three-gallon chemical extinguishers. One 18-foot extension
ladder and axes.
Four fire stations, six pieces of fire apparatus,
17 career members, 20 part-time members, and 38 volunteer members
protecting over 15 square miles. Population 15,834.
Louisburg Fire Department in 1920s. Courtesy Louisburg Fire Department
Louisburg, Franklin County
Twenty volunteers, two paid men. Fire station at
rear of 324 North Main Street: One American LaFrance triple
combination motor truck, pumps 750 gallons per minute, carries 40 gallons
chemical and 1,500 feet 2 1/2-inch hose. 1,000 feet 2 1/2-inch hose in
reserve. Hose house on Kenmoor Avenue: One hand hose reel. Alarm sounded
by siren on building on Market Street. Population 2,000.
One fire station, seven pieces of fire apparatus,
five career members, three part-time members, and 30 volunteer members
protecting about 53 square miles. Population 3,249.
Oxford's first motorized fire engine in front
of mayor's office, 1925
Oxford, Granville County
One white and one colored company under one chief.
Fire station at 14 Williamsboro Street. White
company: 15 volunteers, one paid driver. One American LaFrance Type 10
combination motor truck with one 45-gallon chemical tank, 100 feet
chemical hose, 1,200 feet 2 1/2-inch hose, two five-gallon chemical
extinguishers, and 45 feet of ladders. Colored company: 17
volunteers, one paid driver. One Ford truck with 800 feet 2 1/2-inch hose,
two five-gallon chemical tanks, and 45 feet of ladders. One hand-drawn
hook and ladder wagon with 100 feet of ladders stored at city stable. Two
hand reels with 500 feet 2 1/2-inch hose each, used by both companies.
Electric alarm on top of fire hall. Alarms telephoned to fire hall.
One fire station, five pieces of fire apparatus, 10 career members,
and 36 volunteer members protecting over 4.5 square miles. Population 8,583.
Reidsville, Rockingham County
Two paid men, 15 volunteers. Fire station at
corner of Northwest Market and East Morehead Streets. One American
LaFrance triple combination motor truck, pumps 750 gallons per minute,
carries 40 gallons chemical and 1,200 feet 2 1/-inch hose. One Ford motor
hose truck with 600 feet 2 1/2-inch hose. Hook and ladder trailer with
45-foot extension ladder. 1,700 feet 2 1/2-inch hose in reserve. Fire
alarm sounded by siren at fire station upon notification by telephone.
Three fire stations, seven pieces of fire apparatus, 27 career members,
and 20 part-time members
protecting 11 square miles. Population 14,630.
Roxboro, Person County
One chief, two volunteer companies, 12 men each. Two hose houses.
Hose house beside 416 Main Street: One
two-wheel hose reel with 600 feet 2 1/2-inch hose.
Hose house behind Court House at 410 Main Street: One two-wheel
hose reel with 600 feet 2 1/2-inch hose. 300 feet 2 1/2-inch hose in
reserve. 750 feet 2 1/2-inch hose available at Roseboro Cotton Mill
Company. Alarm sounded by telephone to cotton mill. Population 1,500.
Three fire stations, six pieces of fire apparatus,
23 career members, and 20 part-time members
protecting 6.3 square miles plus mutual aid to entire county. Population 8,861.
Vintage Warrenton fire apparatus, 1966. Courtesy North Carolina State
Warrenton, Warren County
Volunteer, 40 men. No horses. Fire station at Municipal Building, 319-320 Bragg
Street. One combination gasoline pumping engine and chemical car. Two hose
reels. One hook and ladder wagon. 1,000 feet 2 1/2-inch hose. Fire alarm
sounded by bell near Court House. Population 1,000.
Three fire stations, six pieces of fire apparatus, and 32 volunteer members
protecting approximately 70 square miles. Population 788.
Henderson hand-drawn chemical engine from
Oxford fire horses Mamie (left) and Sam (right) and water wagon, 1905. Courtesy
Oxford Fire Department
Louisburg fire wagon in front of court house, circa 1906. Courtesy
Louisburg Fire Department
Edwards Hose and Ladder Company in Oxford,
Warrenton's 1938 Ford Pumper.
Jennifer Bollinger, the Warren Record photograph
Louisburg fire department in later decade. Courtesy Louisburg Fire
Why Isn't Your City or Town Listed?
Sanborn Fire Insurance maps are available online from NC LIVE for 162
communities in 83 of North Carolina's 100 counties. Most cities and towns
were surveyed several times over several decades between the 1880s and the
1950s. Of those maps in the public domain, copyright 1922 or earlier, only
100-some communities in 64 counties had fire equipment or fire
departments. See below link to view later-era maps including the towns of
Draper, now Eden (Rockingham), Franklinton (Franklin), Madison
(Rockingham), and Milton (Caswell).
Guide to Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps
Historic North Carolina Firehouses
History of Eden
North Carolina State Demographics
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps via NC LIVE
Requires password available from many local libraries. After logging into NC
LIVE, click Browse Resources and select Maps
Henderson Fire Department
Roxboro Fire Department
Then and Now #1:
Down East Fire Departments
Then and Now #2:
Northwest Fire Departments
Then and Now #3:
Charlotte West Fire Departments
Then and Now #4:
Triangle Fire Departments
Then and Now #5:
Greensboro West Fire Departments
Then and Now #6:
Fayetteville to Goldsboro Fire Departments
Then and Now #7:
Warrenton West Fire Departments
Then and Now #8: West Central Fire Departments
Then and Now #9: Northeast Central Fire Departments
Then and Now #10: Western Central Fire Departments
Then and Now #11: Northeast Central Fire Departments
Then and Now #12: Dunn to Pinehurst Fire Departments
A version of this article was published on
FireNews.net in October 23, 2005.
|Coming next: Anson, Iredell, Rowan, Stanley, and Union counties