01/30/09 376 W, 1 I - + 13 - 9 Raleigh Fire Department, Circa 1913

For your Friday enjoyment, here's an enlarged view of the Raleigh Fire Department from around 1913. The familiar image, from the Barden Collection (N.97.9.127) at the North Carolina State Archives, shows the entire department and apparatus posed in front of Station 1 on West Morgan Street. The photo's been cropped on the top and bottom, producing a panoramic effect. There are 22 firefighters, 4 horses, and 7 vehicles pictured. Far left and far right are the 1912 American LaFrance Type 5 combination chemical and hose wagons that were delivered in February 1913. Two horse-drawn hose wagons are also shown. They're four-wheel wagons, one of which is equipped with a "turret pipe."1

In the middle is an automobile, used by Fire Chief Sherwood Brockwell and Asst. Chief Charles Farmer. The 1905 American LaFrance Metropolitan steamer is being towed behind the chemical/hose car on the right. Its used for out-of-city calls, or to supplement hydrant pressure at major fires. The 1890 service ladder truck is in the background. Its longest ladder is 30 feet, and is also towed as needed. At the time of this photo, RFD had three hose companies on West Morgan Street, Fayetteville Street, and East Hargett Street. Hose 3 was horse-drawn. The second hose wagon and horse team is a reserve. RFD becomes fully-motorized the next year, with the delivery of the first pumping engine. The horses are retired in 1915. Click once or twice to enlarge:

North Carolina State Archives Photo
1From the Sanborn Fire Insurance Map description in 1914: "24 full paid men. Four horses. One Metropolitan 3rd class steam fire engine. Two American LaFrance automobile combination chemical and hose wagons and tractors for drawing steamers, each carrying 1200' 2 1/2" hose, 300' chemical hose, one 40 gallon chemical tank, two 25' ladders, two 12' roof ladders, and two scaling ladders. Two hose wagons drawn by horses each carrying 1000' 2 1/2" hose, two 18' scaling ladders, one 20' ladder and one roof ladder (one wagon equipped with a turret pipe). One city service truck, longest ladder 30'. 7100' 2 1/2" hose in all. One American LaFrance gasoline pumping engine, 800 gallons capacity, has been ordered and will soon be in service. Gamewell fire alarm system. 52 boxes. 29 miles of water pipes, 4" to 16" diameter. 231 double hydrants, 2 single hydrants. City population 26,000."

What a great photo! I love seeing this bit of history. I am a guest editor on 30Threads, so I gave you a link there: http://www.30threads.com/2009/01/30/rale..
Lisa Creech Bledsoe (Email) (Web Site) - 01/30/09 - 10:53

Amazing to see how far we’ve come.
KOM (Email) - 01/31/09 - 01:54