History of the Charotin Hose Co. No. 1 - Organization


In 1907 a small community in the Southwest corner of Allen Township, claiming that the township disregarded their welfare, decided to secede and form its own municipality. Thus, the Borough of North Catasauqua came into existence. Prior to 1909, the Catasauqua Fire Companies provided fire protection for the inhabitants north of their borough line. In April of 1890, fire engulfed the Unicorn Silk Mill located at the North end of Front Street. The rebuilt structure still stands. The steamers of both the Southwark and Phoenix Hose companies were destroyed as a result of the fire. One of the steamers fell into the canal and exploded when the hot metal of its boiler came in contact with the cold water in the canal. Three firefighters and two civilians lost their lives when a wall collapsed on them while trying to salvage silk from the companies vault. Then in early 1909, a barn on the property of the Bryden Horse Shoe Company was destroyed by fire. The Catasauqua Fire companies responded. Afterward, the Borough of Catasauqua submitted a bill to North Catasauqua for rental of the horses used to pull the steamers. The bill created a dispute between the boroughs and the Catasauqua Fire Department was ordered by Catasauqua Borough Council not to respond to alarms in the Borough of North Catasauqua unless a request was made by proper authorities to the Catasauqua Burgess who would have discretion to allow the fire companies to respond.

North Catasauqua Burgess Fredrick W. Hunter and Borough Council then prevailed upon the Clear Springs Water Company, later to become the Northampton Borough Municipal Authority, to lay additional water mains and install hydrants. Initial plans called for no house to be more than five hundred feet from a hydrant. To compliment the borough’s new hydrant system the Water Company donated a few lengths of fire hose for use in fighting fires. The hose was stored at the Hoffman & Follweiler Stables.

On October 3, 1909, a large barn and granary on Fourth Street, which had been part of the old Fuller Grove Farm and at the time was owned by the Lawrence Cement Company, was lost to fire. A few disorganized citizens arrived with the aforementioned lengths of hose, but could do nothing. With the help of a few cement company employees from nearby foundries and a chemical fire engine from the Northampton Fire Department, well over a thousand feet of hose was laid from Third and Eugene Streets. By the time this water supply was established the flames had consumed both structures.

Realizing that the fire protection of the new borough was totally inadequate, Burgess Hunter persuaded Borough Council to hold public meetings at the Faust School located at Second and Liberty Streets to organize a fire company. As of this writing the foundation is still visible for the school. At a meeting on November 15, 1909, with Thomas Quinn, Justice of the Peace, presiding, the Charotin Hose Company Number 1 was born. Eighty citizens paid one-dollar dues required at the organizational meeting and within three weeks membership grew to one hundred and forty and $490.00 was raised. Committees were formed to write up by-laws and a charter and members made motions to accept bids for hose and a cart. Elections were held and the following were elected: Walter L. Watson, President; James Cunningham, Vice President; S. C. Newhart, Secretary; Clifford Young Treasurer; William H. (Catty) Thomas, Chief; and James Ziegler, Assistant Chief. Plug directors, Carriage Directors, Pipe Directors, a Financial Secretary, and Auditor positions were also filled. The department continued to grow and by 1914 boasted a membership of 163 members.