The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Ore.) 1881-current, June 13, 1920, Magazine Section, Image 83

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NO. 24
i if
Trophies of Tire Jfxf-
most become an axiom in
1 these iuper-modern times
when men pride themselves on orlg
tnatlDg, but emulation Is an incal
culable spar in the accomplishment
of lasting deeds. Tn this respect
"Portland Is extremely fortunate In
having a fire department whose mem
bers have a lasting1 history of f c
who have failed in time of need.
"Examples Innumerable exist in the
annals of the city fire-fighters of
comrades who have fought the last
battle wholeheartedly and have given
their all In the service which is so
exacting. From the immortal Dave
Campbell down the list of men whose
nnsplotched escutcheons adorn the
rolls of the "departed while on duty"
' list of the Portland department in
spiration exists that cannot be ig
nored. In addition to this there is
the liberal leaven of,old members who
preserve vividly for newcomers the
legends and duties of the service as
handed down from one generation of
men to the other.
Priceless Relic-. Preserved.
Up on Portland -Heights in station
15 are preserved a great number of
priceless relics of the brave old days
of the Portland force, some of them
dating way back to the first times
of the organization. " The Villiam
Jeffers hand pump that came through
the Isthmus of Panama in 1860 and
went into service with old Columbia
Threes at 246 Washington street Is
there. This engine, a masterpiece of
the mechanical art of those days, is
in a perfect state of preservation and
is lovingly guarded by Captain W. R.
Carrington, the oldest man in point
of continuous service in the depart
ment today and a member of old Pro
tection Four.
What an eye-opening revelation it
would be if Bome of the old boys
who tugged at the ropes in the old
days and "manned the brakes and
gave way with a will" on old Colum
bia could return to earth once more
and just take the old pump out to
answer an alarm, instead of Cap.
Carrington and his rose-festival prize
for the sedate residents of the heights
could the old alarm bell that lies in
the back of the engine house peal out
the call and the red flannel shirted
boys of old with their hip-boots and
helmets scurry to answer, shouting
echoing instructions through their
Best and Bravest Men of
Portland Were Mem
bers of Old Volun
teer Department
: snv i P fi- ir? .
ri Group r&frm J72 Itzffzss JAawJ JPfJjT?? .
sent two engines and hose carts and
Hubbard and Gervais sent every able
bodied man to aid their big sister
city. The Oregon City Woolen mills
shut down and W. H. Callicott, a
fearless young, railroad engineer of
those days, eat at the throttle of a
pickup train that made the trip from
the Willamette Falls metropolis here
in 52V4 minutes, a record, and shame
be it said for Portland, for, according
to the records of that day he was
not even rewarded with a vote of
thanks. What a comeback for Ore-
ter grade of equipment with the re
sult that the most modern machinery
was installed. The main reason for
the installation of this grade of fire
fighting tools on a full-paid basis
was that the costly apparatus de
teriorated rapidly when Dot getting
the proper amount of care, and then
it was necessary to have traiifed
horses for the engines and they ne
cessitated the attention of a full
The transition from then on has
been gradual. With the great in
crease in population and wealth of I gon City of today in the late discuB-
the city it has been necessary to add sion that arose over the sending of
to the department and Portland has Portland apparatus there to fight
always been one city in the country their last big fire. When the 1873
that has kept pace with the improve- I fire here was finally stopped It was
ments in th'is direction. The depart- found that it had completely de
ment of today is far removed from I stroyed the district from Morrison to
that of the olden days with a double I Jefferson streets along the river and
platoon system and full motorized ap- I along Madison street as far west as
paratus as well as the fast boats on Second street. It was a hard blow
the river and the up-to-the-minute to the struggling little city of that
alarm system. The old city alarm, or I day, but it marked the real inception
town bell, was installed in a tower of of rigid fire-inspection laws and of
the building. now abandoned at I better eauinned itpn.iptm,nt
v nai a. sigm n. wouio. oe Fourth and Yamhill streets, and after Charles H. Dodd, who now Uvea on
that came a siren placed at the Inman- I First street near Grant, is possibly
Poulsen mill. The first town bell I the oldest living fireman in the city.
came here fn 1858, and weighed 1040 I He was a member of the department
pounds. It cost the city S18 and I in the old volunteer days and knows
freight and came into use with the I what it means to bend his back over
first start of the Portland depart-1 the brakes of the heavy pumps. Out
ment in 1 X ."i S u-hon It was rallv first I at Tie-nrri llva, CC7 13 i
brass and silver trumpets. Captain. recognized Tne big town Dell wlth one of the old Doy and thi,
which so many of the Portlanders of are the realj old-timers of the city
umaj At e iAiuuiar ttiiu Liidi us in I ue)dnmni. I or 1 1 a.11 d. in common
the Fourth and Yamhill-street tower I with other cities in the old days of
weighed 4067 pounds with the strik- I the volunteers, recognized the fact
ing apparatus and cost the city $3000. I that some little reward out of the
The Oreeonlan Leads Fljcht. ordinary was due these men who did
i hu h.n ih hionrv r Pnrii,nd M much for the protection of Ufa
acui I - - I , . . A,
In the heights house none are alive since inception The Oregonian led "-"-'. "rapi. ure-
.jo v. ..,. r,. m th. ramni t hti rnr th mea s list was early established here
"-""" J"c" iuomaai Thlo v . j
fi. Tounc. R F. rw,nHwin a u- city an efficient fire department in " 6""lu!a. ecusea
nan, Adam Zorn, Levi Knott and
Charles Logus have left their mark
tn the city of today.
first Engine Has History.
Cap. Carrington's house seems to
be the center of the city for the care
of the significant mementoes that
remain to recall the tale of the de
vciupmeuu 01 uio city aepartment. tno niEeardlv nolipv nf th Htv w- urnslde, Asa Barker. F.
All the souvenirs there have great dada nurt- I baugh, J. McLaughlin, E. J. Northrup,
historical vaiue. x or instance, the xhe Btory o famed Hre of &nuDrlcK Norrls, S. it ("Pill") Smith
lue engine wouia ls73 that Bwept most of th f
Portland as it then stood, is a thrill
ing one, much of the tale being
gleaned from information on file in
the archives of the Oregon Historical
society. This fire resulted in the in
stallation of heavy steamers in most
of the engine companies of that day
The fire started In the early morning
and SOOn reached thA nrnnnrtlnna nf
a holocaust as it was fanned by a "" u"5r company.
a"u oriven soutn rrom its Ladle Honor Fighter,
place of start near the St. Charles I
hotel. Portland of that day was a! Up in engine 15-s house on Spring
city with many flimsy structures, 1 Btreet today are to be found many of
many of the stores being of highly ln sou"m " The oia department.
inflammable construction with paper reucs inai win ne carea ror by the de
or cloth lined' nartitfnnit Tn Tw.vlmi.
7, " nufcuQftcouio iul - y6ars there had been a number of
mem. ii was an rignt ior men to I wi w... i . .
serve as draught animals when the w mir,iv .
Alex Dodge was the first skipper of
the Columbia crew with W. B. Clark
and Hamilton Boyd as assistants.
They had 950 feet of hose and their
Jeffers side stroke engine was the
crack piece of machinery of its kind
in the city. Of the old volunteers
who first worked on the engine kept
1853. At this time Thomas J. Dryer lru -ury a7 "a ""om a
was Aitor of tho nn rw , ,tt, lcrliul proportion or their personal
out and emphasized th ned for or pou ina cn to be so
ladeouate nrotectlon A- h.. honored In Portland were given
usual th nan- bn. .h. MmAt vote ' thanks by the city In 164,
of the city and the formation of the and thelr certificates. On this list are
department was but a matter of a
short time and it wa nisri William Beck, William McMillan
firm basis. Tom Dryer showed how I HarrY Seymour, J. C Van Renselaer,
the niggardly policy of the cltv I "" "rnsiae, Asa Harker, F. Har
are there, a shield from the Brooklyn
volunteers to tho Portland volunteers,
belts worn by notables of the depart
ment, the old tiger shield of No. 5
company, and the stuffed owl that
belonged to No. 3, now, alas, with, a
wicked and leering eye looming from
a moth-eaten visage. The hall con
tains many of the membership rolls of
the old companies and presentation
books and other souvenirs and is al
most hallowed ground for the boys
of today, as Dave Campbell's picture
adorns the wall along with others of
men who have lost their lives while
at duty.
Bot, Want to Be Firemen.
Boys have always found a fascina
tion about an engine-house and the
lure of the uniform exists even today.
though possibly not to such a great
xtent as It did when each house was
peopled by the well-trained horses.
The splendid spectacle of the well-
trained and faithful animals in action,
galloping to a fire, now exists merely
in the memories of the past, but each
ngine-house in the city yet has its
attendant crowd of hero worshipers
who gaze longingly at the brass slid
ing pole leading: down from the sleep
ing quarters and long to be given a
chance to make the slide, feet hooked
about the slender surface in a pro
fessional attitude.
The story of the earliest days of the
department, of some of the pioneers
who had a great deal to do with the
protection of tho little town of Port
land over a century ago, is an inter
esting one, and, fortunately, a fairly
comprehensive record exists in the
files of The Oregonian and, in the
documents of th historical society.
The first attempt to organize a fire
company in Portland was made in the
spring of 1851. On May 6 of that year
tne oia Pioneer company was formed.
Among tho 37 charter members were:
A. B. Hallock. J. M. Breck, George H.
Flanders, A. Robert Thompson and
Dr. R. B. Wilson. This comnanv en-
Joyed but a transitory existence, for
In the annals of this city no record of
Its existene after 1852 has ever been
not be complete were it not stated
that it went to Pendleton for duty
in 1S83 after serving its period of
usefulness here and after being forced
to give way to one of the steamers
that came at that time, and that its
history was finally completed when
it was repurchased by the city of
Portland a few years ago to be kept
as a part -of the civic souvenir col
lection. Also in this house is the first
steamer to come to the city, a Silsby
rotary engine of the third class that
arrived in 1868, which was immediate
ly put into service and which pre
saged the passing out of the volun
teer departments, as the new ap-
S. D. Smith. S. S. Slater, C. M. Wiberg
and J. O. Waterman of Willamette
No. 1, and A. Davis, Joseph Tucker,
L. M. Starr, T. B. Trevett, L C. Mil
lard, S. G. Skidmore and J. Seller of
Multnomah No. 2. William Baker
i. j. tioimes, Frank Dekum, C. A.
Haas, C. L. Kuhn, M. M. Lucas. A. D,
Fitch, S. J. McCormlck, Peter Taylor
and Leopold Meyer of "Vigilant hook
partment for the ages to come. In
the stand of trophies are fully a dozen
trumpets presented to members of th
department for their meritorious
services in times of danger or in rec
ognitlon of their bravery. One of th
into several tons it was impossible roundins clUes and towns. Vancouver most chasto shewy of these is an
machines only ' weighed some 1400
spread and the magnificent spirit of
pounds, but when they began to get help that was Bbovrn by tn8
to move them, and the next step was
the partial volunteer system when
a scattering of full-time paid men
were stationed in each engine house,
the engineer and drivers of each
steamer company, and the rest of the
crew composed of residents of the
neighborhood who were on a partial
pay plan, answering alarms and get
was almost the first to respond and
the little steamer Oneatta brought an
engine company and 60 men from
there in 72 minutes, some time and
seldom duplicated by the same route
even today.
Call Is Made for Hels.
eiaDoraieiy engraved silver mega
phone inscribed "To Couch Engine
Number 6 by Their Friends at th
Catholic .uadies' Fair, Dec 5. 1887.'
What a proud bunch of boys they
must have been when they received
this boon from the fair hands of the
girla of the city, and what rivalry
must have existed to be the fellow to
By noon of the day of the fire the
ting paid for that In addition to the men of Portland were exhausted and handle the trumpet when the company
sum allowed for their being ready at I the call went out to the surrounding I was in action, or perhaps the foreman
all times. Some of the hand engines I cities for help. "Send fresh men, I insisted that he be given the use of
ours are exhausted," was the appeal I It as one of the prerogatives of his
that met with such ready answer. A I office.
train went out ' on ' the Oregon' and! 'Old helmets, including Jack " W.
California to galea "and - that city. I Lyon's, first .wtita. cMeTa headjlece,
were yet in service, but it was soon
found that as Portland began to get
more than 30,000 population it was
much,-better fop them to bare a bet-
First Klre Occurs.
In 1853 there occurred a small fire
during midsummer which awoke the
people to the necessity of making
arrangements which would insure
adequate protection. At that time
the mayor of Portland was Josiah
Failing. Immediately after the fire
referred to, Mr. Failing took prompt
steps to obtain, the protection which
to him seemed necessary, and with
the view of effecting a fire organiza
tion from which satisfactory results
could be expected. he annnlntod
Stephen Coffin. Thomas J. Dryer and
I. B. Smith, to act as fire wardens.
Nearly two years after the Pioneer
company was organized, a call was
made to organize a hook-and-ladder
company and to perfect a system
which would provide for efficient
work by the fire department. This
meeting took place on July 28, 1853,
A resolution was passed which de
clared the whole city a district for
the organization of the proposed
hook-and-ladder company, and it was
the sense of the meeting that Port
land should be divided into two sub
districts, in each of which should be
formed an efficient engine company.
The dividing line between ' the two
sub-districts was Washington street.
The result of the meeting was the
organization of Vigilance hook-and-
ladder company No. 1. The first of
fleers of this company were: L B,
Smith, foreman; H. W. Davis, assls
tant; C A. Poor, secretary, and S. J.
McCormlck, treasurer. The company
adopted "Us constitution and bylaws
August J. 1853. and the list pj charter
members included 36 names. The
company was admitted for duty by
the city council one day after its
Hook-and-X.adder Formed.
The first headquarters of this
company were on Yamhill street be
tween First and Second, where they
remained until the memorable fire of
1873 destroyed their home. The com
pany's first truck consisted of a com
mon wagon, with the original reach
removed, and the ladder was formed
of long poles made from a tall sapling
split in two parts. With its primitive
apparatus this company did most
effective work, however, and for
many years it was one of the great
companies of the volunteer fire
At the meeting referred to above,
two committees were appointed for
the purpose of completing arrange
ments for the organization of two
engine companies, one for the
northern and one for the southern
district of the city. The organization
of the company for the northern dis
trict was effected on August 1 fol
lowing, with an enrollment of 62
names. The first officers were: C. S.
Silver, foreman; B. Stark, first assis
tant foreman; D. C. Coleman, second
assistant; Charles Hutchins, secretary
and Justus Stelnberger, treasurer.
The first name proposed for the com
pany was Protectibn. At the meet
ing held on August 8, there was some
little discussion over the final selec
tion of a permanent name. Mr. Fail-
ng suggested. Cascade; Mri- Barnhart
thought Pike would be suggestive;
and Northerner was offered by Mr.
Stark. This latter designation was
finally adopted. At this meeting 24
men signed their names to the roll,
which made them members of the
The company, like its predecessors,
had none of the elements of perm
anency in its make-up, and in less
than two months after its formation
it was disorganized, not in a formal
way, but as an implied agreement on
the part of its apathetic members.
Prominent Names Found.
In the southern district, Willamette
engine company No. 1 was organized
on August 6 of the same year, with
the following officers: Neeson Ham,
foreman; David Monastes, first assls
tant; Asa Strong, second assistant;
A. M. Berry, secretary,- and C E.
Williams, treasurer. This company
contained among its active members
manv men who have since become
prominent in Portland's affairs.
Among these may be mentioned C. H,
Lewis, William S. Ladd, Henry Fail
ing, George H. WlllimaSj R. B. K.napp
and M. S. Burrell. These gentlemen
served in the department for many
years, and the aid and support they
rendered the old fire department was
of incalculable benefit to the city.
The same interest these gentlemen
always took in their private affairs
was devoted- unselfishly to the affairs
of the fire department. Willamette
engine company was admitted by an
act of the city council passed July t,
On June 30, 1855. the council au
thorlzed the purchase of one of Smith's
New York machines for the use of the
loonl denartment. The boys then
dubbed the primitive fire pumps pia
no boxes." On August 2, 1856, th
council passed a resolution which
awarded this engine to Willamette
company. It had been shipped to Port
land via Cape Horn, and it was un
loaded at the town -wharf eight days
after it had been awarded to the Wil
Iamettes by the council. This was
Portland's first fire engine owned by
the city. Two engines had been
brought here before this time, how
ever, by W. B.- Otway, on the bark
Mary Melville, which sailed into Port
land's harbor - July 28, 1852. -For
time after, their arrival the machine
It? fJz&Cj'fzy.
were in charge of P. A. Marquam. One
of the engines was subsequently
loaned to the Northern fire company
on its organization. The other was
purchased by G. W. Vaughn and was
loaned to the Willamette fire com
pany. The vicissitudes of the Vaughn
nglne carried it to the temporary
se of Multnomah engine company.
afterward organized in Portland, and
finally to the fire department of Eu
gene, where It did most ef flcient eerv-
ce for many years.
Hiltaomah Company Formed.
The next fire company organized in
Portland was the Multnomah engine
company No. 2. The first enrollment
list of 56 names was closed August
26, 1856. Four days later the com
pany's first meeting was held. B. F.
Goodwin was made chairman of the
meeting and T. B. Trevett was ap
pointed secretary. Twenty-nine men
enrolled their names as members of
the company, and the following offi
cers were elected: B. F. Goodwin,
foreman; L. M. Starr, first assistant;
David Monnastes, second assistant;
A. M. Starr, president; A. C. Ripley,
secretary, and Thomas A. Davis, treas
urer. The city council passed an ordi
nance admitting this company on No
vember 25 of the year of its organ-
zation. Multnomah No. 2 was an in
dependent company, its equipment
having been purchased with money
obtained by popular subscription.
The engine for this company ar
rived from New York in November,
1857. This company afterward owned
the first steam fire engine placed in
service on the coast. It was a Silsby
rotary and was purchased at Seneca
Falls, N. Y., and shipped to Portland
by way of the Horn. It reached Port
land in 1868, just In time to be made
available for the big Stitzel mill fire.
It was In constant service for an en
tire week at that time in the endea
vor made by the fire department to
extinguish the smoldering fire in the
sawdust, which had started from the
fire in the mill. This is the engine
now at No. 15's house.
One of the early presidents of Mult
nomah engine company No. Z was
Josiah Falling. Among the other
prominent members were A. B. Hal
lock, Thomas A. Davis, Archie Will-
lams and T. B. Trevett. Mr. Trevett
was the last of the charter members
of this company on the company's
rolls when the paid department was
organized. He saw 26 years and three
months' continuous service with the
On May 22, 1854, the council passed
an ordinance organizing the Portland
fire department. The first chief engi
neer of the department was H. W,
Davis, who drew 1300 a year salary.
Shubrick Norrla was assistant. In
1855, at an election held for the chief
and assistant of the Portland fire
department, the first officers were
re-elected. In September, 1856, Davis
was again the successful candidate
for the position of chief, and Orin
Joyne was made assistant. At the
election in the following year the
successful contestants for the respect
ive offices of chief engineer and as
sistant were 8. J. McCormlck and
Charles Hutchins. During Mr. McCor
mick's incumbency he was absent In
the east for several monthes and dur
ing his absence the council declared
his office vacant and A. M. Starr was
appointed to fill the vacancy. Mr,
Starr,-however, had been elected may
or of tho city, aod he failed to qualify
as chief engineer of the local depart
ment. On April 13. 1S5S, the assist
ant. Charles Hutchins, was elected
chief. When Mr. McCormick again re
turned to Portland he was elected to
the office of assistant of the fire de
partment. For many years this gen
tleman was a bookseller and publish
er here, but he afterward removed to
San Francisco, where he was editor of
the Catholic Monitor.
In 1S57 the local fire department
was reorganized as the result of a
special ordinance passed by the city
council on September 24 of that year.
Under the terms of this ordinance
Willamette engine company No. 1,
Multnomah engine company No. 2 and
Vigilance hook-and-ladder company
No. 1 were included in the depart
ment. ' The total number of men en
rolled in the department at that time
was 157.
In June, 1859, the department was
strengthened by the organization of
Columbia engine company No. S. This
company elected the following offi
cers: F. Carter, foreman; C. Devlne,
first assistant; William Cook, second
assistant; George Porter, president;
Thos. Neally, secretary, and E. E.
Kelly, treasurer. The engine used by
this company was what was known
as a Jeffer's side-stroke. This is the
pump now at Spring street. In addl-.
tlon, the company owned a hose car
riage, which carried nearly 1000 feet
of an excellent quality of hose. The
engine house and the headquarters of
the company were on ' Washington
street, between Second and Third.
Columbia engine company No. 3 was
the first of the Portland fire com
panies to use horses. These horses
were purchased by the company, who
also stood the entire expense of their
care. When the old department was
disbanded, Columbia had a consider
able sum of money in the treasury.
With this money the company voted
the endowment of a bed in each of
Portland's large hospitals. Good
Samaritan and St. Vincents, and the
remainder of the funds on hand were
contributed to the Exempt Firemen's
association, to provide for the care
of the Volunteer Firemen's burial plot
at Lone Fir cemetery.
The rapid growth of Portland soon
demanded the formation of another
fire company, and on November
1S62. Protection engine company No.
4 was organized and promptly ad
mitted to the department by the city
council. The following were the first
officers of this company: R. Hendry,
foreman; H. Bullough, first assistant:
J. Byrnes, second assistant; A. Rosen
heim, president; W. T. Patterson,
secretary and John B. Miller, treasurer.
This was the last fire company
organized in Portland until February
13, 1873, when Tiger company No. 6
wan formed. The great lire or .De
cember 22, 1873, has awakened the
people of Portland to the necessity
f affording additional protection to
the city and it was this which led to
the organization of the above com
pany. The first enrollment of Tiger
company included 52 names. The last
fire company organized under tne oia
volunteer fire department was Couch
ine company No. 6, wnlctt was
formed in 1880, with a total member-
ship of 35.
Today the Portland fire depart-
ment is on a iirm iuuuuuUu
the nick of the city's manhood. Dou
ble platoons, comfortable houses, mod
ern equipment, all go to make tne lot
of the firefighter of today a much
different one from that of the boys
who volunteered in the long ago. Es
pecially is thi3 so in the matter of
training, though none of the old
timers will admit that they were In
any way Inferior to the men who
wear the city blue now.
The fully-trained man who takes up
fire-fighting as a profession In these
days has a hard row to hoe. He has
to pass the most rigid of physical and
mental examinations, and there is al
ways the keenest of competition at
the trials when the new members o
the department are chosen.
Though the men of olden days were
skilled enough and just as daring as
are the members of the department
at this time, they did not have to cope
with the difficulties that beset their
successors. The huge buildings, the
traffic-crowded streets, the heavy ap
paratus, all call for a reat degree of
training and professional skill. The
1920 department is the outgrowth of
the volunteer department of 1851 and
resulted from, natural progression, as
the buildings multiplied. dJmu
v. .
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