Culver - Union Township Fire Department 1903 - 1913
Culver - Union Township Fire Department
History of Firemans Maltese Cross
1897 - As early as this date there was the plea a fire department. The public first public call was made by the editor
of the Culver Herald on July 30th
1898 - Mar 8 - another quip was found in reference to no fire protection for Culver :
“ In times of Peace, prepare for war,” is good advice to follow in case of preparing to fight fire, in case
of necessity. After the horse is stolen the idea of locking the barn door would be preposterous. Now is the
time to plan for fire protection. Now is the time to got a move upon you, ye city dads. A good hand engine
properly handled, would have saved Dr. Rea's building and possibly the Koontz building on the
night of the recent fire. Three or four good cisterns, a first class hand engine and two thousand
feet of hose would be the means of saving thousands of dollars worth of property at the right time. Bremen
has a first class hand engine, which can be purchased right, why not make an effort to buy it? “ Procrastination
is the thief of- time.”
1900, June 22 - a quip in the Herald seems to realy an attempt to get fire protection for the town:
E . F. Obenchain, who represents Obenchain & Co. manufactures of chemical engines at Logansport, has peen in town a few days confering
with the trustees of Culver, relative to furnishing this city with two 45 gallon engines and a hook and ladder truck. When we look over the
list of a great many cities and towns which are using these engines, snd give them their unanimous endorsement, we feel that it is practically
the duty o f the town board to allow Mr. Obenchain a fair chance to prove all be claims for his engines. The fact that we need fire protection
stares us in the face in no compromising manner, and every citizen is fully aware that some system should be adopted that would be effective
as a fire extinguisher and not very expensive; and as our city citv can procure the entire outfit for $425, it should give the matter careful
consideration and the engines a fair trial
There still seems to be a discussion of having a fire department in the issue of 14 Jan 1904 Culver Citizen:
TO THE TOWN COUNCIL
Our prosperous town is exposed to the most dangerous element, that, of fire. In our helpless condilion should tiro destroy the town,
ora greater portion of it, our town officials would emulate the officials of Chicago in trying to fix the blame on others but the people
would convict them, if not in the courts, in public opinion, of gross negligence. The attention of our town council has been called, to
this matter of fire protection so often, and so forcibly, that no excuse could be offered by them. The public demands that some action
be taken in this matter. We have, the same as all other communitiesa, a few chronic grumblers, who would oppose any needed
improvent that woudl require the expenditure of money but these same gru,mblers would be the loudest in their condemnations
should there be any considerable loss by fire, especially if their property were destroyed. SOme action should be taken at once
1903 - the 22nd
of January [another source has given 9 Feb]- Culver Fire Department was organized at the Foss
By the Issue of 29 Jan 1903 of the Culver Herald Harry Saine was appointed fire chief. The only equipment was canvas buckets -
thus they were called the "bucket brigade". It is said that a few rubber buckets and three ladders was all that the town purchased
as equipment and that these ladders were so heavy that it required a dozen men to raise one.
The Culver fire department was organized January 22, 1903, in accordance with a resolution of the
town board. The charter members were: 0ra M. Byrd, Ed Zeckiel, Charles Medbourn, Fred W. Cook, Al Mawhorter
Walter Byrd, William "Will" Cook, Monton H. Foss,
G. W. Smith, Thomas E. Slattery: Arthur Morris, T. 0. Saine and J. R. Saine.
First Officers: Chief, T. 0. Saine; assistant chief, Arthur Morris; secretary, J. R. Saine; treasurer,
Thomas E. Slattery. T. 0. Saine held the position of chief until he resigned August 9, 1906, when 0. A.
Gandy was elected to fill the vacancy, and was reelected January 10, 1907. March 16, 1905, the company
purchased a building, where it has a permanent home.
At the time of its organization the company had no equipment save a few rubber buckets and three ladders
purchased by the town, which were so heavy it required the combined efforts of a dozen men to erect them.
With the installation of waterworks in the fall of 1907 a hose cart and hose was provided and the company
had some real practice in the art of fire fighting, developing a degree of proficiency surprising in view
of their unfamiliarity with fire apparatus. In November 1907, through the generosity of Chief Fred H. Kuhn,
of the Plymouth fire department, the company was presented with a hook and ladder truck, which has been
thoroughly overha uled and repaired and proves to be ideal for their requirements.
History of Marshall County Indiana (1908) Daniel Mc Donald pg. 128
and other account if found in the 1949 Culver citizen:
...January 24, 1903 when thriteen men petitioned the town board to organize a volunteer fire company. The petition
This is to certify that on January 22, 1903 a meeting was called for the purpose of organizing a Volunteer
fire company for the City.
The project of the meeting was fully carried out and the company was organized with a charter membership of twelve
members. these members with the officers are: T. saine, Chief; arthur Morris, assistant Chief; J. R. Saine, Secretary; Thomas
Slatery, Treasurer; Orr Byrd, Edward Zechiel, Charles Medbourn, Fred Cook, Al Mawhorter, Walter Byrd, William Cook, Monton
Foss and G. W. Smith.
At the time of the organization an invoice was made of the fire fighting apparatus which reveals that the equipment included
"two extinnguishers, 22 rubber buckets and the inventory points out that one of these was not good, 13 cans of chemicals,
and one very heavy extension ladder."
The new fire chief requested two sets of ladders, two ladders with hooks, one car for ladders, one fire hook with chain, two keys
for church, one-half inch rope for extra tapper on bell (we presume for church), on epick axe, and more rubber buckets.
An appendix indictated the town council "recieved the report favorably increasing the number of buckets by four, and purchasing two
axes. They went on record as saying that they would look the matter up and buy where the could get the materials the cheapest."
Each member of the group paid a dollar fee for the privilege of belonging and each new member was charges a dollar. It was with this
money that the fire fighting equipment of rubber buckets and a ladder was purchased.
They had installed a fire alarm on the belfry of the Methodist Episcopal Church. -
THE NEW FIRE ALARM , Feb 11, 1904
Every member was to be exempt from road work.
Since they did not have a firehouse the monthly meetings were held in the business places of the members. They met in the
blacksmith shop, the harness shop, the machine shop, the tin shop, and the back porch of the Saine store
Members were 14
and met in William Foss' Harness shop.
1904 - Jul 14 - The now instruments for the Volunteer Fire Company band arrived Tuesday. If the boys keep
on with the push and energy displayed so far,-Culver will soon have a band that they can well be proud
1904 - Aug 4 - The Fire Company Band is progressing nicely. Clarence Behrner
is acting as instructor.
||ABout 1905, the 2nd being a post card|
|In the photo pictured here is the Culver Volunteer Fiire Company No. 1 of many years ago. Firemen shown from
left to right are, back row (around the hose cart wheels): Mont Foss, Ed McFeely, Henry Listenberger ,
Charles Asper and George Howard.
Front row: Ira Hubler, Jake Saine, Al Roberts, Harvey McFeely, Olen Gandy, Earl Zechiel, Art Fishburn, Art Castleman and Fred Hinshaw.
Also shown is the fire-fighting equipment used at that time and in the background is the fire station, which was located at Plymouth
Street and Cass Street across from Grace United Church of Christ.
||This is unidentifed - but is around the same era as the one above - possibly pre dates |
1905 - On 16 March 1905 the members met at the harness shop to discuss purchasing a building owned by Peter Kellar which was a barber
shop, for use as a permanent meeting room and fire station. $40 was the proposed cost of the building. Though the location is not stated
it was possibly noted on the Sanborn fire map of 1906.
It was voted on to sell shares for $3 per share to raise funds. No member was to hold more then 3 shares. This was the beginning
A share certificate that had been purchased by Charles Asper hangs on the fire station wall.
On 13 April 1905 the purchase of the building was completed. It was moved to property __
paid one dollar a year for what they called ground rent - tho from the Culver Citizen is found
1905 Mar 23 - The Fire Company has moved the building formerly occupied by Peter Keller for a barber shop, on
the Henry Litzenberger lot. They have bought lhe building and will have a home of their own
1906 - 18 January The Culver Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 elected the following officers Tuesday night: Chief - Harry Saine; Ass't Chief -
Archie Blanchard; Secretary - Monton H. Foss; Treasurer, Earl Zechiel
1906 - The 1906 Sanborn Fire Map gives the location of the first Fire Department building as being on Main Street - in the middle
of the block on the East side in between Madison and Marmont Streets. In behind a building which would be the approximate location
of where the horeshoe building was located before it was tore down in the late 1980's in which Emil 'Bud' Runhow Jr. had his
Sheet metal buisness (where the black dot is inside the building).
|The first location of the fire department was down on South Main Street by the
Sanborn map of 1906 - Lot 36 - This is
232 S. Main today and what would of been
226 S. Main
||The status of the fire department was also stated within the seal : Water Facilities Not Good; No Steam or Hand Engine, No
Independent Hose Cart; No Hook & Ladder Truck|
1906 - May 1906 a subscription drive was started to raise funds to purchase proper apparatus for fire protection.
1906 - June The issue of 7 June 1906 of the Culver Citizen reported one of the first great fires of Culver - The CMA $50,000 new gymnasium burned to
the ground around midnight Friday. When discover the trumpeter was sounded and the bucket lines were formed from the lagoon to the building. The
gym was 130 by 76 feet and had been erected in 1904; Albert Knell was the architect and John E. Barnes the contract. It was covered by insurance and
immediate plans were made to replace it
1906 - June A big block of Ice Houses burned
near the south end of town burned.
The Bucket brigade was ineffectual in saving them. They were re-built before the winter's ice harvest.
The first fire truck was a hand push cart which was donated by the Plymouth Fire Department and was equipped with a bell and hose. Plymouth also
donated a light weight hand - pulled ladder truck.
1906 - AUg. 16 - Elected Cheif -
At a meeting of the Culver Fire Company on Thursday evening the resignation of Harry Saine, presented at a
previous meeting, was accpected
Four canidadted for a successor were put in nominiation - O. A. Gandy, Chas. Asper, Monton Foss and Henry
The election resulted in the choice of Gandy, and Asper was elected assistant chief to fill the vacancy caused by the
promotion of Gandy.
In the 21 Nov 1907 edition of the Culver Citizen it was reported that Fred Kuhn, chief of the Plymouth Fire Department, arranged to donate a ladder
wagon and hand-pulled hose cart after the building had been acquired; this was the old truck that Plymouth no longer needed it was 22 feet long and
was light enough that it could be pulled by 2 or 3 men. The cart as of 1986 was still in the fire department hands. It was said that Culver Fire Chief
Goddy had made a suggestion to the Plymouth fire chief that Culver co uld make good use of the old truck.
1907 - The town purchased a new Republic chassis and equipped it with three 30-gallon tanks
1908 March - The band hall caught fire during a performance - story the 12 Mar. 1908 issue of the Culver
1908 - May 7 - An ordinance establishing a fire department was introduced and laid over until the next
meeting. The ordinance confers upon the board the power to fix the number of firemen and also gives
the board the authority to elect the chief
1908 - May 25 - The new fire siren has arrived and is being tested.
1908 Sept 17 - Culver Endangered by lack of sufficient fire-fighting facilities ;
1910, Jun 16 - The fire company naw has its full quota of membership, having admitted two new members
Monday evening - Clyde Wiseman and Charles Altheided.
1911 - c. - Perchis Blanchard joins department
1911 - In the fall of 1911 the Main St. firehouse was sold for $15.00 and the furnishings for $13.81. and the department again had to meet in various buisness places until the
new Town Hall in January 1912 - tho the fopllowoign notation was found about the sale of the building
1912 - JANUARY 1 - A. M. Roberts was re-elected chief of the fire company and M. H . Foss was elected secretary.
1912 - feb. 1 - Sale of Fire Building
The building owned for a number of years by the fire company has been sold to Walter Fishburn for $15
FIshburn will move it off.
The building was erected some fifteen years ago on the Kreuzberger land by Peter Keller and occupied by him as a
barber shop until sold to the fire compant.
The structure is 12 by 14, will constrcuted, and Fishburn gets a big bargain.