Catskill Hose Company No. 1 and Ladies Auxiliary

Transcribed by Sharon Palmateer from the Greene County Volunteer Firemen’s Association 1889-1989 One-Hundred Years of Fire Service History


To give you a little background of the fire services of Catskill and the beginning of Hose Company #1, the following events took place: 

On April 1, 1797, an act to “Better Extinguish Fires in the Village of Catskill, County of Albany”, was passed.  This Act would provide not more than five or less than three trustees who would have the power to appoint firemen, not more than 14 per company.  These appointed firemen were exempt from serving for constable or jury duty.  The Justice of Peace was authorized to command the assistance of all able-bodied inhabitants of the village to assist in fighting the fire. 

June 6, 1806, the Village of Catskill became incorporated and the First Ordinance passed by the Trustees was that in event of a fire, the Trustees shall invest themselves with a white scarf on their respective hats and shall perform the duties assigned them.  The President and Trustee #1 shall pay particular attention to formation of the line of citizens with buckets.  Trustee #2 shall attend to the hooks and ladders and direct their use and application during a fire.  Trustee #3 shall direct his attention to the removal and security of all effects.  Trustee #4 shall have the supervision and direction of the engine and Fire Company.

The fire buckets were supplied by the owners of houses and stores.  The number of buckets furnished was according to the number of fireplaces.  Six fireplaces required four buckets.

On September 26, 1855, Protection Engine Company #1 was organized.  In 1864, an engine house was built for it at a cost of $1700 including the lot on the north side of Bridge Street, 25 rods from the end of the bridge.

This company later became knows as Wiley Hose Company #1.  The horses to pull the equipment were furnished by a local businessman.

Hose Company #1 purchased the first motor driven fire apparatus in Greene County in 1914.  This unit was a Willys Overland purchased from Amos Post of Catskill.  The woodwork was completed by Ed Lampman and the iron work was done by Charles Ward.  This unit had no pump but did have a 50 gallon chemical tank, two ladders and the head lights were large round gas type with tanks on the running board.  There was a special key to open the unit and, it was lit with a match.  This unit had hard rubber tires and chair drive.  The men had to buy their own boots.  The Willys had a bell and a siren.  The engine was four cylinders with left hand drive.  The Willys was purchased with donations from Village people.

In 1922, Hose Company #1 purchased an American La France pumper.  This unit was also chair drive with hard rubber tires.  It responded to many mutual aid calls in the County.  The unit did not have a cab or windshield.  At this time, Leeds Fire Company purchased the Willys Overland.  The American La France was purchased with donations.  With the purchase of the La France, the directors of Hose Co. #1 decided that the only persons to drive the truck were to be appointed by them.  The first appointed drivers were Frank Ward, George Deere, D. A. Freer, Roy Freer, Bill Bloodgood and Orlow Barlow.

In 1949, Hose Company #1 purchased a Mack 750 GPM Pumper, E-313, that is still in service today.  The American La France was sold to North American Cement Company.

In 1948, Hose Company #1 contracted with the town of Catskill for, what is now known as, Hose Company #1 Fire Protection District.  The first District Chief 1948-49 was Herb Hendricks.  It soon became evident that another truck was needed.  A 1959 Howe GMC Tanker Pumper was purchased.  In due time, the weight of both trucks on the wooden floor created problems.  The floor was reinforced with steel beams in the basement.  This helped but did not cure the problem.  Around 1969, the building was condemned for what it was being used for.

On June 13, 1971, our new home up on the hill was dedicated.  Our new address became 1 Central Avenue, Catskill.  The members soon realized they needed more room so they put an extension of the building to be used as a recreation room. 1971 a new Mack Fire Truck was purchased with a 1000 gallon tank and a 1000 GPM pump, E-311.

In 1980, we purchased a 1965 Mack 75 Ladder Truck from a volunteer fire company in the Buffalo area.  The members of Hose Company #1 completely rebuilt and repainted this unit.  They felt we needed this truck for our fire district.

In 1977, the member of Hose Company #1 completely rebuilt the 1949 Mack.  This job took a year and a half to complete and they are very proud of it.  In 1980, a Pierce mini-pumper on a Chevrolet Chassis was purchased.  E-314

Once again, Hose Company #1 found the need to expand and in 1981, added another truck bay to the fire house.  Of course, this bay had to be ready for our 1982 Mack Pierce Pumper Tanker.  This unit is Hose Company #1’s first diesel.  It cost $118,000.  Now we have two tankers to serve our district.  E-312

In 1985, Hose Company #1 had the opportunity to get a GMC utility truck.  Once again the members redid the truck, E-316, to their satisfaction.  Now all six bays in the fire house are filled.

The fire equipment of Hose Company #1 did not cost the taxpayers of Catskill anything.

Around 1984, the Bell Telephone Company donated a diesel generator to the fire company.  An addition was added to house this unit.  The generator worked very well for our October 4, 1987 snow storm.

Hose Company #1 also has a parade carriage built in 1890.  This carriage is all chrome with wood wheels and, until recently, has been in almost every parade Hose Company #1 has participated in.  The trailer that the parade carriage was in broke loose from the truck at a parade in New Baltimore and did considerable damage to the carriage.  This was repaired and, at a later parade, the carriage was damaged in transit.  It is now in Pennsylvania being repaired and will be back in the spring of 1989.

Hose Company #1 is made up of 60 active members.  We have a District Chief and two assistants.  We also have a Village Chief Officer.

Hose Company #1 serves the Village of Catskill Fire Department as well as the Town of Catskill, Hose 1 Fire Protection District.

Hose Company #1 earned the trophy for best appearing unit in the 1988 Hudson Valley Convention to Lake George, where there were 118 participating units.

Hose Company #1’s drill team had been New York State champs at the Firemen’s Home Field Day three out of four years.

Hose Company #1 also has a great ladies auxiliary which have participated in all events of the fire company.  Their support has been outstanding and the members are very proud of them.

Hose Company #1 - District Chiefs
1948-49      Herbert Hendricks
1950 -51      George Ward
1952-53      Raymond Place
1954-55      Harold Tompkins
1956-57      Douglas Bush
1958-59      Elmer Young
1960-61      James Palmer
1962-63      Edward Menching
1964-65      Philip Smith
1966-67      Truman June
1968-69      William Darling
1970-72      Floyd Deyo
1973-74      Paul Patterson
1975-76      George Bentley
1976-79      Richard Overbaugh
1979-80      Herbert June
1981-82      John Darling, Jr.
1983-84      Robert Overbaugh
1985-86      Paul Ormerod
1987-88      Tom June


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