Department History, Part 2

Continued from Part 1.

Oaklyn Fire Co. No. 1 had a two-story brick fire house built in 1907 at the same location of their wooden structure. The company moved into their new quarters in August, 1907. The cost of the new building was about $3300. The first meeting in the new fire hall was held on August 12th of that year. On August 6th, Borough Council approved an annual rent of $50 for use of the new fire hall for council meetings. The bell in the bell tower was obtained in a trade with Audubon Fire Co. No. 1. Oaklyn Fire Co. No.1 traded one of their locomotive tires to Audubon for the bell.

Welcome’s first fire house was built from block by members in 1907 and completed on February 29, 1908. It was located on the southwest corner of White Horse Pike and W. Clinton Ave. where the borough hall stands today. The ground had been given to the fire company in 1907 by William Trumbauer, a charter member.

By 1912, Welcome’s members built their second horse drawn fire wagon. Joseph Roberts made the iron work. William Linck made the patterns for the brass work in his pattern making shop assisted by Bill Trumbauer. George Gibson wove the wire for the wagon and William Casperson painted it. This new apparatus would permit two horses to pull it. Several of the parts for this piece were presented to the company by the Pennsylvania Railroad after a train demolished a travelling hurdy-gurdy killing the owner and his son. The new wagon boasted an improved pump.

The town’s first fire hydrants were installed by United Water Co. after a contract was approved by Borough Council on September 7, 1909. Between July 2, 1910 and September 23, 1912 fifteen fire hydrants had been installed.

On March 5, 1912, Borough Council approved an agreement to rent Welcome Fire Company’s hall for $50 per year and appropriated funds for a wagon to move the furniture belonging to the Borough to the new location. Oaklyn Fire Co. No. 1 had raised their rental fee to $100 annually during 1910.

During the spring of 1913, each fire company appointed a committee to jointly meet and discuss the possibility of consolidating the companies. Unfortunately, the committee members could not reach an agreement and the subject was dropped until 1916 when Welcome Fire Co. members corresponded with Oaklyn Fire Co. No. 1 that Welcome was in favor of consolidation. Discussions lasted nearly one year before negotiations ended when each company stated that they did not want to relinquish their respective fire houses. In March of 1917, both companies submitted proposals to Borough Council offering to turn over their equipment and buildings to the Borough. Council initially rejected both offers as they couldn’t accept either one because each offer stated the use must be a fire house. Welcome revised their offer stating that the land, building and contents and fire apparatus would be donated for the use of the citizens of the borough as either a fire hall or borough hall. The deed was transferred to the Borough of Oaklyn by Welcome Volunteer Fire Co. on August 14, 1917 for the sum of $1.00. This offer was accepted by Borough Council resolution on September 19, 1917. Oaklyn Fire Co. No. 1 notified Borough Council that its members decided to retain their building as a fire house.

Members of Oaklyn Fire Co. No. 1 adopted a company motto of “Freedom, Friendship and Protection on May 7, 1917, nearly one month after war was declared. A few weeks later, discussions began regarding a new motorized apparatus for Oaklyn Fire Co. No. 1. On October 12, 1918, the fire company housed a new motorized Ford/American LaFrance pumper.

The Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance on July 30, 1920 which created The Fire Department of the Borough of Oaklyn to consist of fifty men as well as a fire commission. This ordinance called for the disbanding of the volunteer fire companies and required them to turn over to the new Fire Department all the apparatus belonging to the borough.

Continued in Part 3.