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.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The First Annual Inspection of Pelhamville Fire Fighting Units in 1894

On the evening of Tuesday, October 16, 1894, two volunteer fire companies that served the little settlement of Pelhamville held their first annual inspection.  Liberty Hose Company No. 1, of Pelhamville, hosted the inspection of its members as well as the members of Ladder Company No. 1, also of Pelhamville.

Such inspections at the time were grand social events and celebrations where the members of the fire companies paraded in their finest uniforms along with grand processions of their spit and polished equipment.  The men and their families gathered for celebrations and dancing as part of the grand spectacle.

Much of Pelhamville helped prepare for the companies' first "annual inspection."  The Liberty Hose Company No. 1 arranged a grand parade that included a variety of local fire units from surrounding communities including:  Protection Engine Company No. 2 of Mount Vernon; Minneford Fire Engine Company No. 1 of City Island; Minneford Hose Company of City Island; Island City Hook and Ladder Company No. 2, also of City Island; Citizens Hose Company of New Rochelle; and, of course, Ladder Company No. 1 of Pelhamville.  Pelhamville homeowners along the parade route illuminated their homes and decorated them "prettily."  

The parade began from Fifth Avenue in front of the little structure used as the firehouse near the location of today's firehouse at 219 Fifth Avenue.  The marchers proceeded south on Fifth Avenue to Third Street where they turned east and marched along Third Street until they reached Seventh Avenue.  There they turned north onto Seventh Avenue and marched to Fourth Street (today's Lincoln Avenue) where they turned west onto Fourth Street (Lincoln Avenue) and marched to Third Avenue.  They turned north on Third Avenue passing the schoolhouse where today's Hutchinson Elementary School stands and continued past Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Streets to "Eighth Street" (a street that does not exist today, but likely was in the area of today's Willow Avenue at the edge of Chester Park.  There the parade turned west and marched along Eighth Street to First Avenue where they turned south on First Avenue and marched back to Fourth Street (Lincoln Avenue).  At Fourth Street they turned east and marched back to Fourth Avenue where they turned south and marched down that avenue until they reached Second Street.  There they turned east, marched a block along Second Street, then turned left on Fifth Avenue heading north back toward the firehouse.  The parade marched up Fifth Avenue past the firehouse and continued beyond Fourth Street (Lincoln Avenue) where the marchers turned around and "countermarched" by marching south again on Fifth Avenue back to the firehouse.  

The detail below from a map of Pelhamville published the year before in 1893, shows the route of the parade on October 16, 1894.  The green "X" marks roughly where the parade began, proceeding from that green "X" southward down Fifth Avenue to begin.

Detail from Inset Map of Pelhamville Published in 1893,
Marked to Show Route of First Annual Pelhamville
Fire Inspection Parade on October 16, 1894.  Source:
Bien, Julius R., Inset from "Towns of Westchester and Pelham
Village of Pelhamville" in Atlas of Westchester County, New
York, Prepared Under the Direction of Joseph R. Bien, E.M.,
Civil and Topographical Engineer from Original Surveys and
Official Records, p. 3 (NY, NY: Julius Bien & Co., 1893).
NOTE: Click on Image to Enlarge.  

At the close of the grand parade, the members of the various fire companies proceeded to the little wooden court house that once stood where today's Town Hall stands on Fifth Avenue for a fine meal hosted by The Liberty Hose Company No. 1 of Pelhamville.  Following dinner, the members of the fire companies and their dates held a grand dance that lasted "well into the midnight hour."

1895 Photograph of Members of Liberty Hose Co. No. 1,
North Pelham, New York.  Most, If Not All of These Men
Likely Participated in the First Annual Inspection on October
16, 1894.  NOTE: Click Image to Enlarge.

1895 Photograph of Members of Relief Hook & Ladder Co. No. 1,
North Pelham, New York.  Most, If Not ll of These Men Likely
Participated in the First Annual Inspection on October 16, 1894.
NOTE: Click Image to Enlarge.

*          *          *          *          *

Below is the text of a newspaper article published on October 18, 1894 that described the first annual inspection held on Tuesday, October 16, 1894.  The text is followed by a citation and link to its source.


The Chronicle may be obtained in Pelhamville and vicinity from Master Fred L. Anderson who will deliver it at residence.

Mr. Charles H. Merritt began his duties as postmaster last Monday.

On Wednesday of last week the floor of a barn situated on the Wartburg Farm fell in, almost instantly killing two cows in the stable below, and seriously injuring some others.  About three hundred barrels of potatoes had been placed on the floor and they apparently proved too great a strain on it.  

Last Thursday was 'harvest day' at the Warburg and many of the friends of the institution came out to celebrate it.  The crops raised this year are certainly excellent.

About two weeks ago it was stated that the Union Railway Company promised to place a waiting car at the Pelhamville terminus.  This has not yet been fulfilled but it is to be hoped that it will soon be, as the convenience will be greatly appreciated in stormy or inclement weather.

Last Monday night was the time fixed for the adjourned trial of John Morrelley vs. John Costello, which took place at the Pelhamville court house.  The defendant was charged by the plaintiff with assault in the third degree.  W. J. Marshall was counselor for the former and S.J. Stillwell for the latter.  The trial was by jury.  After the jurors had convened for about ten minutes they rendered a verdict of not guilty.  The following were the jurors:  Mr. J. Heiser, foreman; Messrs. John F. Fairchild, James Caffery, John Rohrs, P. Farrell, and M. Mulligan.

The first annual inspection of the two local fire companies occurred last Tuesday evening.  They made a very fine appearance.  After the inspection a large parade took place in which the following organizations participated as guests of Liberty Hose Co. No. 1:  Protection Engine Co. No. 2 of Mount Vernon, Minneford Fire Engine Co. No. 1, Minneford Hose Company and Island City Hook and Ladder Co. No. 2 all of City Island, Citizens Hose Co. of New Rochelle and Ladder Co. No. 1 of Pelhamville.  The following was the line of march on which all of the residences were very prettily decorated and illuminated; From Fifth avenue to Third street, to Seventh avenue, to Fourth street, to Third avenue, to Eighth street, to First avenue, to Fourth street, then to Second avenue, to First street, to Third avenue, to Fourth street, to Fourth avenue, to Second street, to Fifth avenue past Fourth street, then countermarch to Fire House.

At the conclusion of the parade all the companies repaired to the Court house where a fine collation had been prepared.

After doing full justice to the good things that were served, dancing was entered into with zeal and the merriment lasted well into the midnight hour.

Liberty Hose Co. deserves praise for the grand success of the event."

Source:  OUR NEARBY NEIGHBORS -- Pelhamville, The Chronicle [Mount Vernon, NY], Oct. 18, 1894, p. 4, col. 1.  

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