Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Friday, May 22, 2015

History of Pelham's Beloved "Nott Steamer" Known as "Jim Reilly's Boiler"

The year was 1928.  "Jim Reilly's Boiler" had reached the end of its useful service to the fire department that served the Village of North Pelham and the Village of Pelham.  It was a
"Nott Steamer" that had protected the Town of Pelham since the days of horse-drawn fire-fighting equipment.  It was an antiquated piece of firefighting equipment that used a coal-fed steam boiler to build the pressure necessary to blast water from fire hoses to sufficient heights and distances to save Pelham property.  It was designed to be pulled by horses or by men.  

Pelham loved Jim Reilly's Boiler.  In 1928 it represented a simpler time.  It was known affectionately as "Jim Reilly's Boiler," "Reilly's Boiler," and "Reilly's Old Boiler" because former North Pelham fire chief and North Pelham President (i.e., mayor) James Reilly was about the only fellow who could successfully fire up the Nott Steamer and coax it into adequate service.  Now, in 1928, it was scheduled to be decommissioned.  A wave of nostalgia for the days of horse-drawn fire fighting equipment seems to have swept the Town of Pelham.  

The history of Jim Reilly's Boiler is quite fascinating.  It presents an important glimpse of a transitional period in the history of firefighting as firefighters moved from the horse-drawn era to a more modern mechanized era. 

Jim Reilly's Boiler was purchased new by the Pelham Fire Department before 1906.  In 1908, the Fire Department purchased a Seagraves truck that could be drawn by a team of horses or by hand.  A few years later the Department purchased a tractor to pull the Seagraves truck, thus entering into the mechanized age of firefighting.  Soon the Department purchased a faster La France 750-gallon pumper.  At about this time, Jim Reilly's Boiler was retired and stored on the Fire Department's lot where it was kept in good working order and became a source of pride and a nostalgic reminder of the early days of firefighting in Pelham.

Nott Steamer Similar to "Jim Reilly's Boiler"
Once Deployed by the First Fire District of the Town of Pelham.

Here it is just after it was delivered to the First Fire
District.  The old Knott [sic] steamer when last heard
of was headed for Hollywood.  It was the pride of the
fire department in 1910 and Jim Reilly was the man who
could get it working at its best.  Just prior to its sale to a
motion picture company a few years ago the old pump
did some remarkable work at tests."
The Pelham Sun, Apr. 17, 1931, p. 10, cols. 3-4.
NOTE:  Click Image to Enlarge.

In 1921, the Fire Department overhauled, polished up and repainted Jim Reilly's Boiler.  The equipment was tested and passed the tests with flying colors as the Nott Steamer pumped powerful streams of water high into the air.  The Fire Commissioners considered selling the apparatus, but concluded, however, that "the price it would bring at present, is many times less than its actual cost."  Thus, they decided to keep Jim Reilly's Boiler. 

On August 17, 1921, the Fire Department proudly demonstrated the Nott Steamer in a competition against the Department's newer La France 750-gallon pumper.  Firemen attached the Nott Steamer to a fire hydrant located at Sixth Street and Fourth Avenue (today's Lincoln Avenue).  It took them half an hour to get the coal-fed fire burning sufficiently hot to raise the water pressure, then Pelhamites watched with glee as two fine streams of water were being thrown.  According to one account, "the children looked in admiration at the dense clouds of smoke, flame and sparks from the top" of the boiler as the water streamed into the sky. 

In May, 1922, it was announced that the Pelham Fire Department would sell all of its old fire equipment to the highest bidders, except Jim Reilly's Boiler.  According to the announcement, "[t]he old Nott steamer will stay on the job. It has been tried out and is just as good as ever. In a test last fall it gave the automatic pumper a hard tussel in a stream throwing contest." 

In the autumn of 1922, however, Fire Chief McAffrey recommended that the Department purchase another 750-gallon pumper to supplement its La France 750-gallon pumper.  This recommendation may have spelled the beginning of the end of Jim Reilly's Boiler.

By 1924, Jim Reilly's Boiler had deteriorated and was in a state of disrepair.  The Fire Commissioners considered whether to expend the sum necessary to repair the equipment, but concluded that, in good conscience, it would not be an appropriate use of taxpayer funds.  Pelhamites, however, stepped up and opened their pocketbooks.  Jim Reilly spearheaded an effort to raise private funds to restore and repair the old Nott Steamer.  He raised $360.00 "for the purpose of repairing the old horse-drawn steam fire engine of that Fire District, which it was thought would be well to have in an emergency."  The sum was more than enough.

It cost $153.35 to repair and restore Jim Reilly's Boiler. The balance of the money amounting to 206.65 was deposited in The Pelham National Bank to the credit of the restoration fund where the monies remained for future use.  There would, however, be no future repairs.

By February, 1928, the Fire Commissioners decided to demolish the old Pelhamville Fire House and replace it with a newer structure -- the firehouse that still stands today.  Bids were solicited for the demolition work.  There were six bidders for the work.  The winning bid, by Scott of White Plains, proposed to do the work for $600 cash and for the old Nott Steamer valued at $100.  The Fire Commissioners accepted Scott's bid.  The fate of Jim Reilly's Boiler seemed sealed. 

The demolition team took control of the Nott Steamer and performed the demolition work to raze the old firehouse by March, 1928.  All of Pelham was sad and fearful that Jim Reilly's Boiler would be scrapped as junk.  That, however, was not to be.

The crafty White Plains demolition team found a movie production company in Dayton, Ohio willing to buy Jim Reilly's Boiler for $500 for use as a movie prop.  A headline in the local newspaper blared:  "Old Nott Steamer Will Occupy Exalted Position In Film Romances Of Fire Fighters."  The Nott Steamer was moved to White Plains where it was crated and shipped to Dayton, Ohio.

There was, however, still a loose end.  The $206.65 fund for restoration and repair of the boiler still sat in an account at The Pelham National Bank.  Jim Reilly published a letter in The Pelham Sun on March 9, 1928, proposing to use the funds to buy a new billiards table to install in the new firehouse for the use of the three fire companies.  Not a single citizen of Pelham objected.  Reilly and a local real estate developer and Chairman of The Pelham National Bank, John T. Brook, combined funds and bought two new mahogany billiards tables that were installed for the recreation of Pelham firefighters.  In a way, the firefighters benefitted from Jim Reilly's Boiler for years as they passed the time shooting pool in the new firehouse.

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Below is the transcribed text of a host of articles that shed light on the history of Jim Reilly's Boiler.  Each item is followed by a citation and link to its source.

"In the Pelhams
North Pelham . . . 

The old Nott steamer is to be overhauled and placed in commission again.  It has not been in service since the automobile engine was purchased.  The steamer will be tested next Saturday. . . ."

Source:  In the Pelhams -- North Pelham, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Feb. 16, 1921, p. p.22, col. 4.

North Pelham . . . 

Steamer In Reserve.

The old Nott steamer has been repainted and tuned up and is now held in reserve at the fire house.  The commissioners discussed the matter and decided that it would be unwise to sell the machine so long as it still can function as good as ever, and the price it would bring at present, is many times less than its actual cost."

Source:  IN THE PELHAMS -- North Pelham . . . Steamer In Reserve, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Aug. 13 1921, p. 5, col. 3.  

In The Pelhams
North Pelham . . . 

Old Steamer Works Good.

Old Father Time turned the hands of the clock back fifteen years last night and showed the younger generation how their daddies fought fires in by gone years.  The old Nott steamer, which has been out of commission since the present pumping machine was bought, was recently overhauled and polished up.  Then they took out the pole and inserted a hand pole with reel for hand hose and pulled it by man power.  It sounded like the old times to hear the cry 'Let out more rope,' as more firemen fell into line.  At Sixth street it was attached to the fire plug at Fourth avenue and in half an hour, two fine streams were being thrown while the children looked in admiration at the dense clouds of smoke, flame and sparks from the top.  The 'old tub' is as 'good as ever,' was the verdict."

Source:  VICINITY NEWS -- In The Pelhams -- North Pelham . . . Old Steamer Works Good, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], Aug. 18, 1921, p. 5, col. 1.  

"Antiquated Fire Equipment To Go; Highest Bidders Will Be Buyers
Seagrave Truck and Tractor Will Be Ousted -- Out of Date and Only In the Way -- Nott Steamer Will Stay On Guard For Emergencies.

The new Board of Fire Commissioners have taken the 'Clean-up' for their slogan.  All the old discarded material which is stored up at the Fire Hall in North Pelham is to be sold at the best price obtainable.  Old style lamps, hooks and ladders are to be junked, and the old Seagrave truck with the Pierce Arrow tractor is to be sold to the highest bidder.  The old Seagrave truck is a memento of the past.  Originally it was horse-drawn, but as things progressed a tractor was purchased for it and additional speed was thus obtained -- that is the speed was obtained when the old machine got started up.

'Those were the days of real sport,' said Driver Gorham Head.  'Sometimes it would take forty-five minutes to get the engine started, but when she once got going there was nothing could keep pace with it.  The truck used to swing all over the street, and we used to have to hang on for dear life.'

'How about the old pumper?'

'She's just as good as ever she was.'  

'Yes, but how good was that?'

There was a snort as though of escaping steam from over in the corner of the firehouse where stands the old Nott steamer, nicknamed 'Reilly's Wash Boiler.'  The old Nott is another relic of the days when they had to get up steam before an engine could throw a stream.  The old engine rocked on its blocks as though anxious to defend itself against the slur cast upon its wonderfully polished sides.  

'She was a beaut in the old days,' said Driver Head, 'but she had to give way to the faster pumper.'  

Just then President James Reilly came into the firehouse and overheard the last few words.  President Reilly was then just 'Jim' Reilly, who used to stoke the old engine, and with him the Nott steamer is next to his heart.  

'That old steamer ain't done for by a long way yet, mark you,' he said emphatically.  'She may be slow getting up steam, but she can throw a stream as good as most any of your new pumpers right now.  You can take the new apparatus for the parade in Mount Vernon but you'll find that the old pumper will be right on the job if a fire breaks out when you're gone.  She was one of the best machines of her class ever made.'  And the president of the village cast a tender glance at the old pumper, with a reminiscent look in his eye, thinking, perhaps, of the old days when Jim Reilly used to stand on the back step and feed the fire while he watched the steam gauge mount until it signified that the old wash boiler was ready to throw a stream that would knock a bridge over.

It's a peculiar slant at human nature to see the respect which the firemen bear for the old equipment which has performed such efficient service.

That goes for the old Nott steamer; but the Seagrave truck and the tractor, that used to leave a serpentine trail as it weaved its way down the street, with the gang clinging to its sides, out she goes to the highest bidder.  It used to take fourteen men to back it into the firehouse.

'And I guess we can't give a guarantee with it,' said Commissioner McIlroy, in speaking of its ale."

Source:  Antiquated Fire Equipment To Go; Highest Bidders Will Be Buyers -- Seagrave Truck and Tractor Will Be Ousted -- Out of Date and Only In the Way -- Nott Steamer Will Stay On Guard For Emergencies, The Pelham Sun, Apr. 28, 1922, p. 9, cols. 2-3.

Pelham . . . 
Sell Old Apparatus

The board of fire commissioners has decided to rid the fire house of all surplus and antiquated fire apparatus.  The Seagraves truck which when purchased 14 years ago was the pride of the department, will go to the highest bidder.  It has a tractor that cost $1,200 and the truck can be re-converted into a team or hand drawn apparatus, as all the appurtenances are still with it.  The hooks and ladders are in as good shape as ever and for a small village or community, it would be a good investment as the board will accept whatever it can get for it.  The hose wagon must go too and the old original hook and ladder truck and two hose reels that are stored in the yard.  The old Nott steamer will stay on the job.  It has been tried out and is just as good as ever.  In a test last fall it gave the automatic pumper a hard tussel in a stream throwing contest."

Source:  Sell Old Apparatus, The Daily Argus [Mount Vernon, NY], May 2, 1922, p. 10, cols. 3-4.  

"Purchase Of New Pumper
Chief Caffrey Recommends It As Needed With Development of First Fire District

The need of the First Fire District for a new 750 gallon pumper was discussed at the meeting of Fire Commissioners, Tuesday night.  Chief Walter Caffrey suggested the board in his report that due to the extensive building the new piece of apparatus was necessary.  Commissioners McIlroy and Murphy were appointed a committee to collect data on the proposition.  

Chief Caffrey stated that as the general election was drawing near it might be advisable to present the proposition before the voters at that time.  President Lambert stated that the proposition might not receive due consideration from the taxpayers if it was brought up at the general election and suggested that it be brought up at a special election at another time.

At present the equipment of the First Fire District consists of one La France 750 gallon pumper, one hook and ladder, a Ford Hose cart, and the old Nott steamer that was in use back in the days when horse drawn fire engines were the rage.

The board discussed the need of two pumpers, in case of a large fire or of two fires at the same time.  The necessity of calling for aid from Pelham Manor or Mt. Vernon was also brought up, and to this end it was stated that even this might fail in an emergency.  It was stated that the present man power of the department was sufficient to handle the additional apparatus, with the addition of the Pelham Heights company and the proposed Pelhamwood company."

Source:  Purchase Of New Pumper -- Chief Caffrey Recommends It As Needed With Development of First Fire District, The Pelham Sun, Oct. 13, 1922, p. 5, col. 2.

"Suggests Nott Steamer Be Used To Pump Cellars
Commissioners Discuss Possibility of Disabling Motor Pumper When Pumping Cellars

The possibility of damage to the pumping engine of the first fire district, when it is used to pump water out of cellars, was discussed by the Board of Fire Commissioners at the regular monthly meeting.  When the apparatus was used for that purpose two weeks ago, one of the gauges on the pumper was broken.  Commissioner Brundage brought up the subject.

'Would it not be more advisable to take out the Nott steamer when the department is asked to pump out cellars, after storms?' asked the Commissioner.  'There is apt to be dirt and grit getting into the pump and destroying some essential part thus disabling the apparatus when it might be needed.'

The board agreed that it was a good suggestion and will act upon it in the future."

Source:  Suggests Nott Steamer Be Used To Pump Cellars -Commissioners Discuss Possibility of Disabling Motor Pumper When Pumping Cellars, The Pelham Sun, Jan. 19, 1923, p. 6, col. 4.  

"Nott Steamer Is Given Test After Undergoing Repairs

The rejuvenated Nott steamer, which has reposed at fire headquarters out of commission for the last ten years was given a test on Saturday afternoon and worked perfectly.  Recently Village President Reilly of North Pelham raised a fund to repair the discarded piece of apparatus with which so many fond memories are associated.  The Board of Fire Commissioners could not see its way to expend money on the out-of-date steamer.

Saturday afternoon, Village President Reilly again assumed his old position as stoker on the old coal pan which had been drawn outside the firehall and had the engine throwing up a cloud of smoke that would have screened a battleship.  But when the pumper was started the steam indicator climbed up to 140 pounds and the water pressure gauge up to 95 pounds and a stream went eighty feet into the air and reached from Fifth avenue over Sixth nearly to Seventh avenue.  Whereat Stoker Reilly leaned over to Engineer Jack Ehrman and said with an affectionate look in his eyes:  'Didn't I tell ye that the old gal is just as good as ever?'"

Source:  Nott Steamer Is Given Test After Undergoing Repairs, The Pelham Sun, Jan. 16, 1925, p. 6, col. 3.  

By One Who Listens . . . 

During the recent storms which flooded many cellars and below-street level garages, requests were made for the use of the fire apparatus to pump out ccellars.  At one time the apparatus was used for this purpose, but latterly the fire commissioners have objected.  Fire apparatus used for pumping surface water from cellars was found to do considerable harm to the pumps.  A suggestion was made that the old Nott steamer might be called on in case of emergency.  This piece of apparatus is dear to the hearts of the old-time firemen but has become a back number since horse drawn apparatus was relegated to the background.  Used for the purpose of draining flooded cellars it might again become a unit capable of earning its place on the floor of the firehall. . . ."

Source:  TALES OF THREE VILLAGES -- By One Who Listens, The Pelham Sun, Aug. 20, 1926, p. 2, cols. 2-3.

"The Board of Fire Commissioners are inquiring about freight rates to Hollywood.  Why?  The old Nott Steamer may go into the movies.

The old steam fire engine which was retired by the fire commissioners some years ago when the motor driven pumper was purchased, is still looking for an owner.  The commissioners have endeavored to peddle the old machine, which has been affectionately termed 'Jim Reilly's Boiler' to some fire department, but the market is very low at present.

It was suggested that some motion picture company might be able to use the machine in an old time comedy scene or for scenes pre-American in France.  So the Commissioners are making inquiries along that line.  It may be 'Hollywood Bound' for the old boiler."

Source:  TALES OF THREE VILLAGES -- By One Who Listens, The Pelham Sun, Feb. 3, 1928, p. 2, col. 2. 

"Wrecking Of Old Fire Hall Will Cost $600
Scott Of White Plains Taking Old Equipment As Part Payment For Services

There were six bidders for the work of razing the old fire hall on Fifth avenue.  John Zaccheo of North Pelham bid $2100; Burcke of New Rochelle, $1500; Williamsbridge Wrecking Co., $1275; McQuay of North Pelham, $1,090; Pryor of North Pelham $750; Scott of White Plains, $700 of which amount $100 will be represented by taking the old Nott steamer -- the other $600 will be cash.

The contract calls for the building to be razed and the old concrete foundations torn out -- work to be completed in 18 days.  It began last Friday."

Source:  Wrecking Of Old Fire Hall Will Cost $600 -- Scott Of White Plains Taking Old Equipment As Part Payment For Services, The Pelham Sun, Feb. 17, 1928, p. 6, col. 3.

"Shades Of Old Hose Reels; Reilly's Old Boiler Sold As Junk
Only a Year Or Two Ago Sympathetic Friends Raised Sentimental Fund To Repair Old Fire Apparatus

There's a tear in the eye of Mayor Reilly as he watches the demolition of the old firehall on Fifth avenue and notes the fast gathering dust and rubbish on the frame of the old Nott steamer, standing forlorn -- forgotten!  

It's more or less of a tragedy for Old Jim -- for his affections are strong for the 'ould boiler'.  For many years, when Jim was the village blacksmith, he stoked the old firebox, and boy, the sparks would fly heavenward with a roar, their height equalled only by the stream of water.  

The old pumper could spout forth under the tender ministration of the now Mayor of North Pelham.

That was back in the old horse drawn days when the Nott steamer was the pride of the district, and Mayor Reilly will verify the statement there never was, never is, and never will be a pumper that will equal the ould boiler in throwing a stream.  Maybe it didn't have the volume of these newfangled Siamese connections, but it sure did have the pressure -- lots of times it would shoot clear over the building when it should have put the water in the first-floor windows.

'Them was the days when fires was serious matters, not because of the inability of the pumper, mind you, but the horses couldn't get the apparatus there soon enough -- these present-day motor lengines don't give a fire a chance -- and them chemicals make most  of the fires a tea party,' said one of the old timers.

Now, every once in a while a piece of two-by-four will fall on the old engine's back.  Its cracked harness will rattle feebly as if longing for the prancing steeds of the old days to come to its rescue.

But it cannot be.  The Fire Commissioners have sold the ould boiler.  Traded it in as a part of the price for tearing down the old firehall, so goodness knows what it's end will be.  With sentiment due for its age the Commissioners endeavored to find a home for it with a movie company where (oh! oh!) it might be used to film a comedy!  But even the slapstick artists refused it.

Hey, Mister Mayor, why not get some of the ould timers together and put on just [illegible] have the Nott steamer repaired with new innards and gaskets and sich, a few years ago?

One more drill!  Just for tonight!"

Source:  Shades Of Old Hose Reels; Reilly's Old Boiler Sold As Junk -- Only a Year Or Two Ago Sympathetic Friends Raised Sentimental Fund To Repair Old Fire Apparatus, The Pelham Sun, Feb. 17, 1928, p. 3, col. 3.  

"Reilly's Boiler Goes Into Movies
Old Nott Steamer Will Occupy Exalted Position In Film Romances Of Fire Fighters

Like the Pelham Manor trolley car has been perpetuated as the 'Toonerville Trolley' in the cartoons of Fontaine Fox, so will 'Jim Reilly's Old Boiler' live again to proudly blowout a shower of sparks on the silver screen.  The old Nott steamer, which saw long and efficient service with the First Fire District has been sold to a motion picture company.  Saturday the fire apparatus was removed from where it stood at the old fire headquarters and taken to White Plains where it will be crated and shipped to Dayton Ohio.  

Scotty, the Wrecker, who has been tearing down the abandoned fire headquarters told The Pelham Sun that he had accepted an offer of $500 for the old fire apparatus, which is one of the last of the steam driven fire engines in existence.  Scotty took the machine in party payment for the work of removing the building.  

Now the youngsters of many sections of America will thrill at seeing the old time fire apparatus dashing across the screen in many a motion picture thriller woven around the fire department."

Source:  Reilly's Boiler Goes Into Movies -- Old Nott Steamer Will Occupy Exalted Position In Film Romances Of Fire Fighters, The Pelham Sun, Mar. 2, 1928, p. 4, col. 4.  

"Reilly Asks Permission To Close Out Fund For Repair Of Fire Engine
Steamer Sold, Mayor Still Holding Fund Collected In 1924.  Suggests Billiard Table For Fire Hall

The sale of the old Nott steamer which at one time was the pride of the First Fire District, leaves Mayor James Reilly with a task undone.  As chairman of the committee which sought to have the old fire engine put in serviceable condition, Mayor Reilly is responsible for $206.65 which remains from the fund he collected in 1924.  He has suggested that this fund be disposed of to purchase a billiard table for fire headquarters, and has asked The Pelham Sun to assist him in securing approval of the citizens of the district who donated to the fund for the repairs of 'Reilly's Old Boiler' as the fire engine was affectionately known.

Mr. Reilly made this suggestion in a letter, which follows:

Pelham Sun.

Dear Sir: -- 

It will be remembered by the citizens of the First Fire District of the Town of Pelham, which comprises the Villages of North Pelham and Pelham, that in 1924 I collected from quite a number of them the sum of $360.00 for the purpose of repairing the old horse-drawn steam fire engine of that Fire District, which it was thought would be well to have in an emergency.

Immediately upon receipt of this sum I proceeded to have the steam engine repaired.  These repairs amounted to the sum of $153.35.  The balance of the money amounting to 206.65 was deposited by me in The Pelham National Bank to the credit of this fund, where it is at present.

The Board of Fire Commissioners has recently sold and disposed of the old steam engine, consequently the balance of $206.65 now on deposit can no longer be used for the purpose for which it was originally contributed.

I take this means of accounting for the moneys received by me, and suggest that the balance on hand of $206.65 be used towards the purchase of a pool table for the common use of the three Fire Companies in the First Fire District.

Unless I receive objections from those who originally contributed the money for the purpose of repairing the old steam engine on or before Tuesday, March 13th, I will conclude that there is no objection to applying the balance now on hand towards the purchase of a pool table for use by the three fire Companies and wi after that date apply the same to such purpose.

Respectfully yours,

(signed) JAMES REILLY."

Source:  Reilly Asks Permission To Close Out Fund For Repair Of Fire Engine -- Steamer Sold, Mayor Still Holding Fund Collected In 1924.  Suggests Billiard Table For Fire Hall, The Pelham Sun, Mar. 9, 1928, p. 3, cols. 4-5.  

"New Billiard Tables Popular With Firemen
Gift Of John T. Brook and Citizens' Fund Installed At Firemen's Hall.  Talk of Tournament

With two new billiard tables installed at Firemen's Hall the members of the companies of the First Fire District are brushing up on their form in the games with the ivory balls.  Daily matches which have been held during the last week reveal several potential billiard and pool champions and there is talk of a departmental or inter-company tournament to settle several disputes.

One of the billiard tables was the gift of John T. Brook, who has for many years been one of the chief contributors to the support of the local fire companies.  The other was purchased through the generosity of citizens who responded to Mayor Reilly's appeal for funds with which to repair the old Nott steamer.  Mayor Reilly recently proposed that the unexpended balance of that fund be used for the benefit of the firemen.  There being no objection raised he turned the fund over to the fire companies, which organizations contributed the balance required to complete the purchase price.

The two handsome mahogany tables were delivered late last week.  The firemen have lost no time in taking advantage of their new recreation equipment."  

Source:  New Billiard Tables Popular With Firemen -- Gift Of John T. Brook and Citizens' Fund Installed At Firemen's Hall.  Talk of Tournament, The Pelham Sun, Mar. 23, 1928, p. 9, col. 2.  

"Do You Remember?

In last week's edition the old fire department steamer is referred to as a 'Knox.'  This is an error.  It was a NOTT.  However, I can see where the mistake entered.  When the commissioners decided to replace it with a motorized pumper, there was hot competition between the respresentatives of the American-La-France and Knox motor companies.  The commissioners were divided until the 'A-L' agent threw a bombshell into the meeting by announcing that the Knox Co. was in the hands of a receiver and the department would be in a fine fix should the pumper need spare parts.  The agent for the Knox admitted this but offered to send enough spare parts without charge to keep it in working order.  He did not get the order."

Source:  Do You Remember?, The Pelham Sun, Oct. 11, 1945, p. 10, col. 6. 

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Below is a list of prior Historic Pelham Blog postings that touch on firefighting and the history of fire fighting units within the Town of Pelham.

Tue., Feb. 17, 2015:  More on the Early History of Organized Firefighting in the Settlement of Pelhamville.

Mon., Feb. 16, 2015: The Great Furniture Fight of 1896: Company of Pelhamville Firemen Resigned En Masse.

Thu., Feb. 12, 2015: Rare 19th Century Image of Pelhamville Firemen Who Served in Relief Hook and Ladder Company No. 1.

Fri., Dec. 12, 2014: Parade and Housewarming Hosted by Pelhamville Fire Department in 1894.

Thu., Jul. 24, 2014: Dedication of the New Fire Headquarters in the Village of Pelham on December 29, 1927.

Wed., Jul. 02, 2014: Election Shenanigans Involving Fire Commissioner Election in 1898.

Thu., Apr. 24, 2014: Information About the History of Fire Departments in the Town of Pelham Published in 1927.

Fri., Jan. 24, 2014: Early Days of Organized Fire Fighting in Today's Village of Pelham.

Fri., Jan. 15, 2010: Photograph of Augustine C. McGuire, President of the Board of Fire Commissioners of the First District Fire Department in 1913.

Thu., Jan. 14, 2010: 1913 Report of the Firemen's Benevolent Association in Pelham.

Thu., Dec. 10, 2009: More 19th Century Baseball and Firefighting References.

Tue., Dec. 08, 2009: The Darling Triplets: Three Brothers Among Pelham's Earliest Firefighters.

Thu., Oct. 08, 2009: Firefighting Units on City Island in Pelham During the Early 1890's.

Mon., Aug. 31, 2009: Contest in 1891 To Determine Which Steam Fire Engine Company Could Throw a Stream the Greater Distance.

Fri., Aug. 28, 2009: Reorganization of the Minneford Engine Company on City Island in February, 1891.

Thu., Aug. 06, 2009: Brief History of the Fire Department in the Village of North Pelham Published in 1913.

Wed., Aug. 05, 2009: Pelham Manor Fire Chief Pleads for Taxpayers to Authorize Purchase of Village's First Fire Engine.

Wed., July 15, 2009: Liberty Hose Company Election in 1898.

Thu., Jan. 19, 2006: Pelham Manor's Earliest Fire Fighting Equipment.

Mon., Aug. 01, 2005: An 1896 Inspection and Drill of the Fire Department in Pelham.

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