On August 15, 1901, a meeting of the citizens of the Borough of Souderton, Pa., was held in Borough Hall for the purpose of reorganizing a Fire Department. The Burgess, Mr. A. B. Benner, called the meeting to order, calling attention to the purpose and necessity of the meeting.
W.'F.--Goettler was Nominated and elected President pro tem. R. B. Goettler Was chosen Secretary Pro team.
Horace Souder made a motion to organize a Volunteer Fire Company and later merge it into a Charter Company. Harry Wendling moved and Clinton Matthias seconded that a committee of five be Appointed to invite firemen of neighboring towns, and gain Such information as might be deemed necessary and of benefit to a local Fire Company. Motion carried.
The President pro tem appointed Messrs. Harry Wendling, Clinton Matthias, Horace Souder, R. B. Goettler and Horace Heller. J. K. Allebach moved and John D. Delp seconded that another meeting be held Thursday evening, August 22, 1901. Motion carried. On motion the meeting adjourned. August 26. The election for permanent officers resulted as follows: President, Clinton Matthias; Secretary, R. B. Goettler; Treasurer, Levi Reeder. The election was by ballot as per motion.
September 6. In response to the petition which you presented to the Town Council asking for an appropriation to meet the expenses for maintaining a Volunteer Fire Department for the protection of the Borough, I am glad to say that the following resolution was unanimously adopted: On motion, Be it resolved that the Borough of Souderton appropriate the sum of $50 for the fiscal year of 1901 for maintaining a Volunteer Fire Company of about 24 members for the protection of the Borough against fire. Adopted the second day of September, A. D., 1901. Attest: G. M. Zendt, Clerk. J. D. Moyer, President of Town Council, Borough of Souderton. Approved this 5th day of September, A. D., 1901. A. B. Benner, Burgess October 11. The President was requested to notify the Vigilance committee to have a practice run. (Continued through the Anniversary Book)
July 4. Peter Hemmerle, Chairman, reported that the probable cost of equipping the borough with on alarm system would be $75. Also, that the Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley Traction Company would allow the placing of a fire whistle on their power house. September 5. On motion the Treasurer was ordered to pay the janitor's salary, amounting to $2.00 per month.
June 18. The cost of a fire whistle was reported at $100.55 with 5 per cent off. A. B. Benner moved and Enos Barndt seconded that the committee order H. D. Detwiler to purchase the whistle and the committee be continued until a subscription committee was appointed.
March 24. The hay house, hay press, boiler house and sheddings, belonging to the Standard Hay Baling Company, were destroyed this day by fire which started from unknown cause shortly after 12 o'clock, noon. All of the members of the Fire Company in town at the time turned out and worked very faithfully in subduing the flames and saving adjoining properties from falling prey to the fiery flames.
May 5. Foreman Yerger gave orders that the members take out cart and hose to test new plugs on Wednesday evening, May 10, at 6:30 o'clock.
May 4. On motion the following committee was appointed to procure a charter for the Fire Company: Dr. J. F. Crouthamel, E. S. Kratz, J. B. allem On motion the secretary was Instructed to notify Town Council that hereafter the
Company would close its door to any other organization excepting Council as per agreement of May 17, 1903. August 31. On motion the following persons were nominated as directors For the charter: Harry Wendling, J. F. Crouthamel J. F. Landes J B All H. S. Landes, D. H. Yerger.
June 15. A freight car of the P. & R. Company was discovered on fire shortly after 10 p.m., near Hatfield. It was brought to this place and shifted into a siding. An alarm of fire was turned in to which the Fire Company quickly responded. All the members in town at the time worked faithfully and the flames were quickly subdued.
July 6. A fire caused by an overheated stove was discovered in the tailoring establishment of R. E. Gerhart at 4:30 p.m. and an alarm of fire given by phone quickly brought out the firemen who were in the immediate vicinity. All rendered faithful assistance in subduing the flames. The damage was slight.
August 25. Fire was discovered in the barn of Mary Anne Hunsberger on this day at 11:30 o'clock .. An. alarm of fire was at once given and all the firemen In the Immediate Vicinity quickly responded but the flames were practically subdued before the Company arrived on the scene. However, a stream was played on the budding and the flames were entirely extinguished without serious damage.
January 29. On motion the following committee was appointed to draft proper resolutions to present before Council urging the appointment of four Fire Police: D. H. Yerger, A. B. Benner, J. B. Allem, U. S. Gehman. May 6. On motion it was decided the Company would take the hook and ladder truck along to Quakertown. The horse drawn ladder truck was purchased in 1910.
March 3. It was agreed to purchase 48 overcoats to be used as uniforms for the Company.
March 1. On motion of Dr. Crouthamel it was agreed that a committee of three members, with the President of the Fire Company as Chairman, be appointed to confer with Town Council in reference to the purchase of a chemical engine.
May 2. Any member or members (active or contributing) who shall entertain or participate in entertaining, at these headquarters any resident person or persons, of this Borough, who may not be duly elected members if this Company, by cards, pool or any other game, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof, shall be liable to the following punishment, at option of the Company: 1, for first offense, be censured by President; 2, for second offense, be fined 501; 3, or third offense, be expelled by the Company.
August 6. L. D. Wildonger moved and U. S. Gehman seconded the motion that the Company purchase the lot on Main street from H. S. Souder for $1,290. The motion carried.
May. The first mechanized equipment, a Ford chemical truck, was purchased. It is still in running order.
January 7. A motion was made and seconded that the Trustees destroy the mortgage on the lot purchased from H. S. Souder. November 4. It was decided to organize a Relief Association to be called the Souderton Firemen's Relief Association. On motion it was decided to elect seven directors. The following were nominated and elected directors of the Association: William Hendricks, Henry S. Landes, John R. Kline W. F. Goettler, D. H. Yerger, J. H. Moore, J. B. Allem. A motion was made and seconded Wallace M. Keely be engaged as attorney for charter for Association.
July 24. Dillinger moved and Elmer Delp seconded a motion that the Company build a fire house. The motion carried unanimously. November 20. The following resolution was adopted: Resolved-That the proper officers of the Perseverance Volunteer Fire Company Na. 1 of Souderton, Pa., be and are hereby authorized and directed to obtain a loan or loans from the Union National Bank of Souderton, Pa., such loan or loans not to exceed in the aggregate the sum of twenty thousand ($20,000) dollars, interest to be at the rate of six per cent per annum. All B. & L shares held and owned by the Company shall be assigned to the Union National Bank as Security for such loan or loans. The money or monies obtained by such loan or loans shall be used to defray the costs of completing the fire house of the Company now under construction.
April 1. It was decided that George Kulp, Charles Greaser and Allen Landes be given tryouts for janitor. July 1. The President appointed George Kulp Chief of the Fire Police and he appointed his assistants.
March 2, The Apparatus Committee, in charge of purchasing the Reo truck, was discharged with thanks.
September 1. It was decided to inform Council to purchase a 500-gallon pump for the Reo chassis, same to be a Hale Rotary Gear Pump.
June 5. Plans were presented for new alarm boxes. One plan called for 10 new boxes and one for seven new boxes. The Committee will take same, before Council.
February 5. It was decided that after the next stated meeting, March 5, the pool table and card tables be moved into the basement and club room be kept there. The committee appointed to receive bids on changing club room to basement and erecting a lobby on entrance floor consists of Henry Gerhart, Ambrose Darn and John Bishop. August. First ambulance, a 1935 Dodge, was purchased.
May 4. It was moved and seconded the Company pay the balance on the Relief Association note of $100.00. In the presence of the Company Treasurer, Henry S. Landes tore up the final note of $100.00 which represented the Company's lone indebtedness on the fire hall. November 2. The Perseverance Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 will sponsor the Souderton Community First Aid Corps with an option that the Company may withdraw its sponsorship at any time.
June 7. Henry S. Landes, having faithfully served the Company for over 20 years, applied for transfer ta Exempt Membership. It was moved and seconded that Henry S. Landes be transferred to the Exempt list.
February 7. The Inhalator arrived Saturday, February 4. Mr. Gaskill was present to give a demonstration.
Our Seagrave ladder truck was delivered in April. Total cost $13,759.00,equipped with 2500 ft. of hose, pumps 750 gallons of water per minute and has a booster tank, capacity of 125 gallons of water.
Our Company traveled to West Annapolis, Md., where they participated in a parade sponsored by the Fire Company of that city. The group Won two cups one for best appearance and one as a special prize.
The Buick Ambulance which was operated by the Fire Police, was placed in service May 12. The first year they reported 127 calls.
December. The Company paid off the last note on the Seagrave ladder truck, clearing the Company free of any debt.
May. Our Company paid a good will visit to Telford Fire Company. Visits of this type help get the best cooperation of the two Fire Companies. A water battle between Souderton Fire Company and Telford Fire Company was held in July for the benefit of the boys at Camp Emlen, Morwood. Telford was the winner.
In September. The Company raised the siren on top of the fire house 25 feet. The metal was procured from a discarded windmill. Total expense $38.14.
The Company met with Borough Council in June and had an ordinance passed that prohibited burning rubbish after dark. Council also agreed to stenci1 fire plugs with 2-in. black numbers to indicate the size water main connected to the fire plug. The Fire Police received new uniforms and reported answering 15 calls during the month of June. September. The Trustees were instructed to dispose af the horse drawn ladder wagon which the Company purchased about 1910. The following men, Norman Sell, Harold Yocum, Richard McCardle, Pete Wickette, Warren Hunsberger and Wayne Koffel won the tug of war with Telford at the Colmar Carnival and received a red blinker light. December. The Company purchased a new Ford pumper with a 500 gallons per minute capacity. It was equipped with a 300 gallon booster tank. The total cost fully equipped was $8,500. In the same month Borough Council was requested to increase the fire tax to one mill and the request was granted. On this basis the taxpayers of Souderton pay an average of $1.00 a year for fire protection.
January. The Company bought a portable pumper with three sections of hose to be used for pumping out wells and cellars. September. The Company installed overhead doors on the front of the building at a cost of $1600. March. Three hundred and fifty members of the Montgomery County Firemen's Association met at the Souderton Fire house. The visitors were treated to sourkrout, mashed potatoes and pork. May 6. The Lansdale Medical Unit visited our Company for the purpose of blood typing all members. The list of members typed has been a great service to the community.
February. George Kulp was elected Honorary Captain of the Fire Police after serving 22 years as Captain. June. A committee was appointed to appraise the fire house for additional fire insurance. After several months of inquiry the Company decided to increase the fire insurance to $52,000. June. The Fire Police presented Henry Jacoby's name for Captain of Fire Police. The Company accepted the recommendation.
January. The Fire Police report for the year was as follows: 219 calls, traveled 5,419 miles, man hour service 450 hours. This unit received the Souderton Lions Club Golden Deeds Award for outstanding work in 1948. April. The Company purchased a new Seagrave truck equipped with a 750 gallon per minute pumper, booster tank of 300 gallon capacity also carries 2500 feet of hose. The total cost of this truck was $15,000. May. The Company was requested to sponsor a second Alarmers Unit in this district. All Charter members are associated with the Fire Company July 30. The Company held a parade to house two new pieces of apparatus. There were 48 fire companies in line of march. West Conshohocken was the winner of the first prize.
March. The Company decided to have a memorial service once a year on the Sunday after Memorial Day. The following churches were picked In this order: First, Grace Bible; Second, Emmanuel Lutheran; Third, Zwingli Reformed; Fourth, Zion Mennonite; Fifth, Mennonite; Sixth, Brethren In Christ. September 5. The Company purchased a four-acre lot on North Second street for the sum of $7500. This site to be the future location of the Fire House. October. The second floor of the Fire House was converted into a banquet hall in which 250 persons can be comfortably seated at a time. The total cost of this project was $3,400.
In the nine year period from 1942-1950, 193 fires were recorded. By years the report is as follows: 1942,21--1943,26--1944,22--1945, 18--, 1946, 30--1947, 16--1948, 18--1949, 23--1950, 19.
During the month of February, 1949, Souderton Fire Co. was called to assist Telford and Harleysville firemen in battling a stubborn house fire near Harleysville. It was extremely cold, and everyone working that morning would
have given almost any price for a hot cup of coffee. At that time the idea of a "coffee wagon" in this section was enthusiastically discussed, and by morning, when the fire was finally put out, the idea had progressed into the talking stage. A group of 15 men, all active firemen of Perseverance Volunteer Fire Co. No.1, Souderton, decided to get together for further discussion. Finally, in April, the first organized meeting of the group was held, temporary officers were elected, and the name, North Penn Good Will Service, was selected from a list submitted by the members. We now had a name-but nothing more-and our first move was to secure a suitable bus for this work. Through the generosity of Mr. Clarence Hagey, local transportation man, we finally secured a 1935 Ford school bus. We immediately went to work remodeling this bus to our needs, most of the work being done by the members. We were indeed fortunate in having several members adept at welding and carpentry, the two biggest jobs. Up to this point, our treasurer did not have much to do; there was no cash on hand. Letters were then sent out to fire companies in our territory and we were gratified to receive donations from the majority of them. With this money we were able to finish outfitting the bus, and on July 15, 1949, we officially went into service. Since then our buses have made 40 calls, traveling a total of 1,000 miles. Our territory, incidentally, is within a IS-mile radius of Souderton. However, we have and will continue to go wherever called. We are at present attempting to secure a charter, this being a necessary step in order to continue and improve service. In order to improve our service still further, we are at present outfitting a late model Flxible Coach for another rolling "coffee wagon." This work will take longer than the previous bus did, as certain necessary changes are being made, and equipment secured. When this unit is completed, we hope it will be the finest piece of this equipment in the area. Our group plans to keep both "coffee wagons" in service, gradually expanding our territory until all firemen and rescue workers in this area will have the advantage of our service. We wish to thank again the fire companies, police departments, merchants and individuals who have stood behind us with their generous donations which is our only means of continuing this service in any emergency which may arise.