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photo of barnyard sale sign

History Horsham Fire Company

Horsham Fire Company

The Horsham Fire Co was started in 1913 after a fire destroyed the Meeting House Barn.

The following is taken from The History of Horsham by Craven and History of Horsham Fire Company No. 1

In 1913 the Meeting House barn was burned to the ground. The sheds adjoining took fire and it looked as if the Friends Meeting House was doomed, but through much effort the fire was checked, and the Meeting House saved. At the country store of O.P. Smith, the fire was the theme of conversation for many days. Jarvis Smith and Leroy Forker conceived the idea Horsham should have a fire company, and through their efforts on November 14, 1913 the first meeting was held in Benjamin Webster’s barn.

"Twenty-seven men interested in the welfare of Horsham and the surrounding country met in Benjamin Webster's barn" with Ervin Ambler and George Dungan, who were the Chief and the Assistant Chief of the Enterprise Fire Company of Hatboro. The object was to lay the foundation for forming the Horsham Fire Company and elect its first officers. Clarence Geatrell was elected President and Forest Corson became the Company's first Fire Chief. The only compensation the members were to receive "...besides the general excitement, is the knowledge, (and) the feeling that they are doing something worthwhile." At the same meeting, a membership fee was placed at one dollar.

On December 1, 1913 another meeting was held. Mr. Irwin Ambler of Hatboro, a man well versed in fire company affairs, attended, and through his assistance a Fire Company was organized. At this meeting, Hatboro Fire Company loaned a hand pump, the first apparatus of the newly formed Horsham Fire Company.

The Company's formal charter was granted on June 12, 1914 in Montgomery County Court.

At the next meeting Dr. A. M. Stafford donated two hand fire extinguishers. In January 1914, the Midvale Steel Company donated a steel locomotive tire for use as a fire alarm. Firemen were summoned by the sound of a sledge hammer hitting the old iron wheel. This was hung outside of Wes Freas’ General Store at the corner of Meetinghouse and Easton Roads. The first calls were received at the store. This method was abandoned in 1917 when Horsham installed the first siren in the area.

Plans for a building were formed and the search for a source of funds begun. The Knights of the Golden Eagle, who met at the Hallowell Hotel (now the Horsham Inn) on Easton Rd, offered to place $1,500 as a mortgage on the proposed building, and also to conduct their meetings in it for $5.00 per month rent. Ground for the new fire house was soon broken, and in the fall of 1914, the building was finally completed

For the sum of $200.00, Mr. William Kentner of Willow Grove built a fire wagon, equipped with ladders, etc. Silas Homer and Chalkley Stackhouse placed their teams of horses at the fire company’s disposal whenever needed. By June 1, 1914, our first "Fire Wagon" was delivered and readied for use. The cost was $272.12. Since such an expensive piece of equipment containing "...the latest firefighting devices" could not be stored outside, Benjamin Webster's shed became the first firehouse. (A Hometowne Collectible wooden figure re-creation of this building is available through the Horsham Fire Company.)

There is a story told by one of the original firemen of the first time the new equipment was used. The fire was in a hollow Buttonwood tree which had been set by a young boy trying to smoke out a ‘possum. The extinguisher with its chemicals was employed in great haste, but it was only with the assistance of a bucket brigade from the springhouse that the fire was put out. Improvements came through the efforts of the volunteers, and funds were raised by the Ladies’ Auxiliary, which was formed almost immediately after the Fire Company was founded. New equipment was purchased, and after a tax of l 1/2 mills was levied in the township, the fire company purchased a pumping engine and 1,000 foot hose. A Ford was donated by Chester Duckworth and equipped for use as a first aid station.

In 1968 a new building was dedicated on the site of the original fire house, and shortly afterward, another station, manned by the volunteers of Battalion No. 2 was built on Horsham Road.

Today, Horsham Fire Company has an inventory of 3 Pumpers, a 105' Ladder, Rescue truck, 3 Ambulances, and 2 Command vehicles. It operates out of 2 stations, one located on Meetinghouse Road and one located on Horsham Road next to the Township Building.

The Firehouses for both Battalion 1 on Meeting House Road, and Battalion 2 on Horsham Road were replaced with beautiful modern structures in 2006 and 2007.


Support the Future of Horsham's History!

Horsham Preservation and Historical Association (HPHA)
900 Governor Road
Horsham, PA 19044 USA
© 2000- Horsham Preservation and Historical Association
A Community Benefit Organization

Horsham Preservation and Historical Association (HPHA)
900 Governor Road
Horsham, PA 19044 USA
© 2000- Horsham Preservation and Historical Association
We are A Community Benefit Organization
Horsham Preservation and Historical Association Logo

215-343-0659 | Email

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