1923 History

Chief: Walter Bartlett
Assistant Chief: Henry Johnson

1923 marked a major change for the Ferndale Volunteer Fire Department as it acquired two new engines, and sold off three of its early pieces of equipment, including its very first apparatus, the Hunneman hand pumper, as well as the two hose carts they got in 1898. By the end of the year, the department had reorganized itself into new companies. Membership in the department was over one hundred men.

Prior Company Organization:

  • Engine Company
  • Hose Company 1
  • Hose Company 2
  • Hose Company 3
  • Hook & Ladder Company

After the purchase of the two motorized engines in 1923, Hose Companies 1 and 2 were disbanded and the members were reassigned to one of the following companies:

  • Engine Company
  • Hook & Ladder Company
  • Chemical Company
  • Hose Company 3

A Tale of Two Engines

At the beginning of 1923, Ferndale had two pieces of motorized apparatus. They had the 1905 Waterous which had a gas engine to pump the water, but the apparatus had to be pulled to the fire by a team of men. They also had the 1917 Model T Chemical Truck which could drive to the scene of the fire, but it was limited to fighting the fire with two 30 gallon tanks of chemical. Good for quick attack, not so great against a major structure fire.

By the end of 1923, Ferndale had added two modern fire engines to its fleet. When the town folk started talking about getting a new engine, that got the country folk thinking maybe they needed one too. And so the Tale of Two Engines unfolds in the pages of the Ferndale Enterprise. Who will get their engine first? Will the engine manufacturers keep to the delivery time commitments they make? Read on and find out.

NEW FIRE ENGINE IS BADLY NEEDED

Ferndale Enterprise - Feb. 2, 1923

The need of an up-to-date fire engine in Ferndale has been realized for a long time past, and developments of the past week have brought the matter forcibly to the front.

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PURCHASE OF FIRE ENGINE IS ASSURED

Ferndale Enterprise - Mar. 9, 1923

At the meeting of the Ferndale town trustees last Monday evening the matter of the purchase of an up-to-date fire engine was discussed at some length and it was the unanimous sentiment of the members of the board that the new equipment is badly needed and should be secured at the earliest possible moment.

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NEW FIRE ENGINE WILL BE PURCHASED

Ferndale Enterprise - Mar. 16, 1923

At an adjourned meeting of the Ferndale town trustees, held last Tuesday evening, an order was made advertising for bids for the furnishing of an up-to-date fire engine for the town.

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START WORK MONDAY FOR NEW FIRE ENGINE

Ferndale Enterprise - Mar. 23, 1923

Active work for the raising of funds for the purchase of a new chemical fire engine for use in the country around Ferndale will be commenced next Monday.

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CHEMICAL ENGINE IS ASSURED FOR VALLEY

Ferndale Enterprise - Mar. 30, 1923

The purchase of a fine new chemical fire engine for use in the district around Ferndale seems assured. Messrs. M.P. Petersen and M.L. Clausen, who canvassed the Grant district this week, report splendid success in raising money, practically every ranch owner and renter being glad to donate to the fund for the purchase of the engine. The same report is made by Shirley Boyd and Antone Enos, who have been canvassing the Port Kenyon and lower Island sections.

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OPEN BIDS MONDAY FOR FIRE ENGINE

Ferndale Enterprise - Apr. 13, 1923

At an adjourned meeting of the Ferndale town trustees to be held next Monday evening bids will be opened for the furnishing of a new combination fire engine for the town.

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FUNDS ASSURED FOR ENGINE IN COUNTRY

Ferndale Enterprise - Apr. 13, 1923

The committees which have been working in the different parts of the valley around Ferndale in the endeavor to raise sufficient money for the purchase of a powerful chemical fire engine have met with splendid success.

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MEETING CALLED FOR TUESDAY IN THE TOWN HALL

Ferndale Enterprise - Apr. 20, 1923

A meeting of the people of the country surrounding Ferndale is called for next Tuesday evening, April 24th, in the town hall, commencing at eight o'clock. The meeting is called for the purpose of appointing a committee for the purchase of a new chemical fire engine for the valley, the money for which has been raised by private subscription.

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BIDS RECEIVED FOR FIRE ENGINE FOR THIS TOWN

Ferndale Enterprise - Apr. 20, 1923

At an adjourned meeting of the Ferndale town trustees last Monday evening bids were opened for the furnishing of a new engine for the town, according to specifications which had recently been adopted and advertised.

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REJECTED ALL BIDS ON NEW FIRE ENGINE

Ferndale Enterprise - Apr. 27, 1923

At an adjourned meeting of the Ferndale town trustees, held last Monday evening, all bids for the sale of a new fire engine to this town were rejected and the board decided to purchase on the open market.

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ORDER GIVEN FOR CHEMICAL ENGINE

Ferndale Enterprise - May 11, 1923

At an meeting of the committee which was in charge of the purchase of a chemical fire engine for the community around Ferndale, held last Saturday evening, an order for a Northern Fire Equipment Company's chemical outfit, mounted on a Graham Company's truck, was placed with Chas. R. Thompson, Ferndale agent.

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ORDER PLACED FOR NEW FIRE ENGINE

Ferndale Enterprise - May 11, 1923

At the meeting of the Ferndale town trustees last Monday evening by a vote of three to two the board decided to purchase a new American LaFrance fire engine. The two votes in opposition to the purchase of the LaFrance were cast for the Stutz apparatus.

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ANOTHER REDUCTION ON FIRE ENGINE PRICE

Ferndale Enterprise - May 18, 1923

At a special meeting of the Ferndale town trustees last Tuesday evening, at which Mr. Brown, a representative of the American LaFrance Fire Engine Co., was present, another reduction of $388 on the price to be paid by the town for its new fire engine was secured.

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CONGRATULATIONS TOWN ON PURCHASE OF FIRE ENGINE

Ferndale Enterprise - May 25, 1923

Seattle, Wash. May 17, 1923
Editor Ferndale Enterprise,
Ferndale, California.
Dear Sir:

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MR. BROWN WRITES ABOUT FIRE ENGINE

Ferndale Enterprise - Jun. 22, 1923

In a letter to the editor of The Enterprise Mr. V.H. Brown, who spent considerable time in Ferndale recently as a representative of the American LaFrance Fire Engine Company, comments on the purchase price of the apparatus ordered from his company by this town as follows:

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NEW CHEMICAL FIRE ENGINE IS RECEIVED

Ferndale Enterprise - Jul. 13, 1923

The new chemical fire engine, purchased by public subscription by the people in the country around Ferndale, was received last Tuesday.

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WILL DEMONSTRATE CHEMICAL ENGINE

Ferndale Enterprise - Jul. 20, 1923

A Demonstration of the new chemical fire engine just received in Ferndale and owned by the people of the country around this town will be given tomorrow, Saturday, evening on the Williams lot on Main St.

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POOLE BOX FACTORY BURNED TUESDAY EVE

Ferndale Enterprise - Oct. 19, 1923

Fire of an unknown origin completely destroyed the box factory of R.M. Poole at Arlynda near Ferndale last Tuesday evening. The fire was discovered about nine o'clock and had gained such headway that all efforts to save the building were unavailing.

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NEW FIRE ENGINE WILL ARRIVE TODAY

Ferndale Enterprise - Oct. 19, 1923

The new American LaFrance pumping engine, ordered by the town trustees about June 1st, arrived Sunday evening at Fernbridge direct from the factory in the east. Owing to the fact that unloading facilities are not available at Fernbridge it was later taken to Eureka.

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FERNDALE'S NEW FIRE ENGINE HAS ARRIVED

Ferndale Enterprise - Oct. 26, 1923

The new American LaFrance pumping engine ordered by the town of Ferndale about June 1st arrived the last of the week, having been shipped direct from the factory in the east.

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FIRE ENGINE PASSED UNDERWRITER'S TEST

Ferndale Enterprise - Nov. 2, 1923

The new LaFrance fire engine brought to Ferndale last week was given a rigid test last Friday under the supervision of R.C. Stevensen, a representative of the Underwriters of the Pacific, who came here for that purpose, and L.C. Lonkey, who handled the machine for the LaFrance Co.

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FIRE DEPARTMENT ANSWERS TWO CALLS

Ferndale Enterprise - Nov. 30, 1923

The Ferndale fire department was called out Saturday evening on account of a threatened fire at the M.H. Nielsen home in North Ferndale. The alarm was caused by the chimney burning out. No damage was done.

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OLD FIRE ENGINE LEAVES FERNDALE

Ferndale Enterprise - Nov. 30, 1923

The old hand power fire engine, which has been owned by Ferndale for many years, was towed to Eureka this week to be shipped to San Francisco and delivered to the American LaFrance Company, having been taken in by that company as part payment on the fine new pumper recently purchased by this town.

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  1. The name Northern Fire Equipment Company appears to be a reporter's mistake, as no fire apparatus company by this name appears to be in business at that time. However, a reference to Northern Fire Apparatus Company was found in the 1920s. They specialize in providing chemical truck equipment to be placed on the client's chassis. Based in Minneapolis, Minn., they were founded in 1907. In 1929 they were purchased by a Texan, and the company changed their name to Northern Pump. By 1932 the company had changed their focus to providing large guns for Navy ships.