52 Years Ago Hamden Firefighters Gathered at Hull's Rathskellar February 28, 1962
February 28, 1962 gathering of old Platoon 1 at the Hull's Brewery Rathskellar (Photo courtesy of Tom Doherty)
CLICK to enlarge
Until it closed in 1977, the Hull Brewing Co. at 820 Congress Avenue in New Haven made their Rathskellar available for private parties.
The above group photo was taken at a February 28, 1962 gathering of Hamden's old 1st "Battalion," with some guests from Platoon 3, as well as one retiree and a couple of unidentified gentlemen, possibly Hamden cops. CLICK on the photo to enlarge and for the names of the attendees.
Billed as the "Second Semi-Annual Beer Party," there undoubtedly were more of these gatherings in the future.
CLICK to enlarge
74 Years Earlier
Fire at the brewery!
April 15, 1888 - Fresenius Brewery, future home to Hull's. Photo by A. Bowman, courtesy of Bill Celentano, Jr. and Box 22 Asssociates (CLICK to enlarge)
The Hull Brewing Co. was located on the site of a building previously occupied by the Fresenius Brewery. The photo at left shows the aftermath of an April 15, 1888 fire there. The Fresenius Brewery ceased operation in 1920 when the 18th Ammendment kicked in. Hull's resumed brewing operations in the building following the end of Prohibition in 1933. It closed in 1977.* (*Citation: OldBreweries.com)
The HFRA expresses sincere thanks to Bill Celantano, Jr. and Box 22 Associates for permission to use this photo in connection with our Hull's group photo.
Hundreds of other historic New Haven Fire Department photos can be found in Box 22's New Haven Firefighters (2005), in the Images of America series by Arcadia Publishing. Highly recommended for local history buffs and fire buffs alike, this fascinating 128 page book can be found at Barnes & Noble and other area book stores for $19.99.
Website fan Bill Celentano, Jr. of New Haven's Box 22 Associates has provided the website with his photos of a 1970s multiple-alarm fire at Hull's Brewery - the same building that burned in 1888. These photos will be posted here in next week's update.
Some examples of Hull's advertising and a vintage Hull's six-pack.
CLICK any photo to enlarge
Brand name serving trays like these were commonly found
in restaurants and other establishments that sold their company's beverages.
(Photos by Dan Johnson)
Interesting New Fire Districts Proposed 50 Years Ago New Building Codes Envisioned
The article below appeared in the March 3, 1964 edition of The New Haven Register. It described efforts by Chief V. Paul Leddy and Marshal Al Purce to reduce the possibility of a major conflagration by implementing new building codes for commercial and industrial areas of Hamden. If approved, the new building codes would have prohibited or restricted the construction of wood frame buildings within six specific areas of town. Considering all of the new wood frame construction in the proposed zones since 1964, it is unlikely that the new codes were ever approved.
New Haven Register, Tuesday, March 3, 1964 (Courtesy of Chan Brainard)
60 Years Ago
Hamden Pee Wee Bowling at Old Station 3
The photo below, scanned from the 1954 Annual Report of the Town of Hamden, was taken at the four-lane bowling alley in the basement of Co. 3's Putnam Avenue fire station. The building was sold over four decades ago to a private buyer, but we understand that the alleys are still there.
Setting the pins was done manually by the "pin boy." When a pedal was depressed at the back of each alley, ten small rods raised up from the floor onto which each pin was placed.
Retired Hamden firefighter and HFRA member Bob Slater wrote, "I was one of the pin boys along with Bob Carangelo and Reuel Belcher, son-in-law of Chief Leddy. The fire department was assigned a given night, and depending who was working the other shifts would be there with their wives. At that time, boys bowled on Friday night and girls bowled on Saturday morning. During the rest of the week there were groups of teachers, postal workers, our HFD men and their wives, and a few others. Those were the good old days!"
"Instructions To A Group Of Pee Wee Bowlers At The Whitneyville Recreation Alley" - 1954 Hamden Annual Town Report
Meanwhile, upstairs on the first floor of the fire station . . .
Photo by Ed Doiron, Sr.
January 1966 - "Alarm Readiness" at old Station 3 on Putnam Avenue. Here in the dayroom are Firefighter Sid Trower, Lt. Joe McDermott and Firefighter Ray Bantz. The members of the career department occupied only the first floor of the station. The meeting rooms of the Whitneyville Volunteer Fire Association were on the second floor.
Fire Sweeps Through Church Street School Classrooms
February 20, 1944
Original article was a donation by the late G. Donald Steele
For the second time in a generation, the meeting rooms at the Humphrey fire station (Station 2) served as temporary classrooms for Hamden grammar school students who were displaced by fire.
La Mesa, California resident Lil Larsen Peters, formerly of Hamden, was a 4th grader at Church Street School when the fire occurred. Lil recalled attending classes at the Circular Avenue fire station until repairs were completed at Church Street School.
The original Church Street School building, erected around 1920, was razed and replaced with the present building in 1990.
Check out this news story posted on AOL. An ad may play first.
A typical "caption" slide used in Dep. Chief Tramontano's training presentations. Rather primitive by today's standards, it was the best way to do it in 1982. The lettering was typed on a 3x5 card and shot with a close-up lens attached to a 35mm camera.
Following up on the training photos featuredtwoweeks ago, here are a few more views that then-Dep. Chief Tramontano shot to demonstrate just how, and in what order, the tools were attached to the female end of the 3" supply line. Featured was Ff. Bob Anthony, who went on to serve as Local 2687 president from 1993 until his retirement in 2005 after 25 years of service. CLICK on the smaller photos to enlarge them.
1. A rubber strap is tied just above the female coupling.
2. A hydrant wrench is slipped onto the loop.
3. Then a spanner wrench is slipped on.
4. A carabiner is attached to the end of the strap.
5. The carabiner is connected to a 2-1/2" hydrant gate.
Hamden's first new postwar pumper dedicated to
the memory of Commissioner William D. Daymon
This memorial plaque honored William D. Daymon, who passed away suddenly during his term on the Hamden Board of Fire Commissioners. It was mounted on the 1951 Maxim, the first new piece of Hamden fire apparatus purchased after Commissioner Daymon's death in 1945.
Other pieces of Hamden fire apparatus also had similar memorial plaques mounted in addition to the dedication plaques that listed the Town officials who were in office when the apparatus was purchased. (CLICK to enlarge)
The memorial plaque honoring Commissioner William D. Daymon
can be seen just aft of the righthand-side discharge port of the 1951 Maxim.
(Frank Wegloski photo courtesy of Daryl Osiecki)
Courtesy of the Hamden Historical Society
February 18, 1954
60 years ago this week, The Hamden Chronicle reported that the Hamden Paid Firemen's Sick Benefit Association donated a pair of sterilizers to the Visiting Nurse Association of Hamden. The HPFSBA frequently made these types of donations to benefit local health agencies.
The HPFSBA, organized in 1948, was the bargaining unit for all non-management fire personnel until The Hamden Firefighters' Association was formed in 1978, the latter association being replaced the following year by the Hamden Professional Firefighters Association, IAFF. The HPFSBA continued as a benefits association for those Hamden firefighters who chose to belong, but was finally dissolved in 1995.
It is with deep regret that we announce the passing on September 10th of retired Hamden Firefighter Hugh McLean, Jr.
A World War II and D-Day Veteran, Hugh proudly served in the US Navy from 1942 to 1945 in North Africa and in the Allied invasions of Sicily and Normandy.
Hugh joined the Department in October 1949 and served with distinction for 38 years until his retirement in 1987. In 1973, Hugh received the Department's Alfred Ramelli Award, and in 1982 he was named Fireman of the Year by Hamden's Civitan Club.
Hugh is survived by his wife of 65 years, Jeanne, and sons Hugh Scott McLean (Susan) of Pennsylvania, and Brian McLean (Judi) of Clinton. He is also survived by his three grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated in Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church. Burial was in St. Mary's Cemetery.
Donations in Hugh's memory may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 2075 Silas Deane Highway, Suite 100, Rocky Hill, CT 06067. Our thoughts and prayers are with Hugh's family.
Some of the above information was excerpted from The New Haven Register obituary for Hugh McLean.
Friday, July 31, 1987
Superior Printing Ink Co.
750 Sherman Avenue
While leafing through some old training reports last week, we found 26 black and white photo negatives dated July 31, 1987. The photographer is not identified. The photos were taken at an acid spill at the loading dock of this Sherman Avenue manufacturer of printing inks.
Engine 9, Engine 5, Rescue 3, CP-2 and Car 2 responded. Lt. Bob Kelo and Firefighters Joe Rahl and Ed Doiron were on Engine 9. According to hazmat protocol, Lt. Dave Strawhince and Ff. Ray Dobbs responded "special call" from Station 3 with Rescue 3. Firefighters Art Heriot and Rich Maybury responded on Engine 5, when it was manned by only two firefighters.
Rescue 3 was equipped with a cascade air system for refilling Scotts on site. CP-2, the Civil Preparedness vehicle, was equipped with material to absorb spills and 55-gallon metal drums to take away the waste for proper disposal.
Crew of Engine 9 with CP-2
Ff. Ray Dobbs assists with Scott Air Pack
Ff. Rahl and Lt. Strawhince
The support firefighters were well out of the hot zone.
Crew of Engine 9 pours a SpeedyDry-like absorbent onto the affected areas.
(Note the fully "enveloped" firefighters, and then the guys in the overhead doorway.)
Brooms help to spread the absorbent to soak up the product.
Shoveling the absorbent into the waste drums supplied on CP-2
Ff. Rich Maybury, Neil Gorfain of Civil Preparedness, Lt. Dave Strawhince and Assistant Chief Walt Macdowall
are beside Engine 9. Car 2 and Rescue 3 can be seen in the background.
Asst. Chief Macdowall was also Director of Civil Preparedness at the time of this incident.
Firefighters Art Heriot, Rich Maybury, Ray Dobbs and Lt. Dave Strawhince. Engine 5 can be seen in the background.
60 Years Ago!
The New Haven Journal-Courier and New Haven Evening Register reported that Hamden firefighters were quite busy on Monday afternoon and evening, February 15, 1954. Around 3 p.m., a small fire activiated the sprinkler system on the second floor of the Moose Hall, 961 Dixwell Avenue. Fire damage was minimal, but water damage to the business on the floor below was "extensive." (Ed. Note: Thirty-nine years later the building was extensively damaged by a multi-alarm fire. Transients believed to be living in the vacant building may have started the fire. The building was razed shortly thereafter.)
The second fire, reported shortly before 7 p.m., destroyed a three-car garage at 622 Newhall Street. According to accounts in the Courier, quick actions by Hamden firefighters under the command of Capt. Paul Leddy prevented more serious damage to the house at that address as well as two adjacent houses. Engine Companies 1 and 2 and the ladder truck from the Circular Avenue station, and the Squad out of Headquarters responded.
In February 1954, Engines 1 and 2 were the 1938 Seagrave and 1952 Maxim, respectively. The 1941 Diamond-T was the ladder truck and the "Squad" was a 1938 Diamond-T.
New Haven Evening Register, Tuesday, February 1954 - CLICK to enlarge (Courtesy of Gil Spencer)
Only six days later, on Sunday, February 21st, another Newhall Street fire claimed the life of a 44-year old woman. It was Hamden's first fire fatality in fire years. The cause was attributed to smoking in bed.
Active HFD Members at a Recent Retirement Dinner (Bob Mordecai photo)
Annual Local 2687 Retirement Dinner
will take place
Saturday Night, April 5th
Laurel View Country Club
Cocktail Hour 7-8, followed by Dinner
Music provided by Ff. Doug O'Rourke
Deputy Chief Robert Surprise
Firefighter/Paramedic Roberta Angiletta
Firefighter John Bradbury
Invitation letters to retirees will be mailed soon.
Patches to Trade?
Toronto Firefighter Jeff Gayman contacted the website during this past week hoping to obtain an HFD patch. The website does not have them, but we were certain there were patch collectors out there among our web visitors who might. Jeff wrote that he has many patches to trade. Here is Jeff's contact information:
Jeff Gayman, Toronto Fire Dept, 74 Barton Lane, Uxbridge, ON, Canada L9P 1W2 His email address: email@example.comPlease type "Patch Trade" in the subject line.
Forty years ago last summer an unknown photographer took this photo at Station 5. John O'Hare provided the original 8x10 photo so that it could be rescanned at a much higher rez than the version published on the website several years ago.
Left to right are Firefighters John O'Hare and Joe Mulligan. Standing by Engine 5, the 1951 Maxim 750, is the late Steve Blennerhassett, a Mt. Carmel volunteer. On the back of the engine are Co. 5 volunteers Bill Chalmers, Paul Moody and Hamden's future deputy fire chief Clark Hurlburt, who had joined the fire company a few months earlier. This was two years before the annex was built onto the Mt. Carmel station.
July 1973 - Station 5
Mount Carmel Elementary School, built in 1921, can be seen in the background of the above photo. It closed the month before this photo was taken.
The last time the old school was used by town employees was in May 1981, when several different fire department training evolutions were conducted there. The old building was razed later that year.
The photo at right shows the Mt. Carmel School before a cafeteria and five classrooms were added to the west side in 1954. A second addition was added in 1963. Both of these wings still stand and are part of the Mt. Carmel Congregate Housing now located on the site of the old school.
Mt. Carmel School - pre-1954
40 Years Ago!
Hamden Paid Firemen's Sick Benefit Association
Officers Elected February 12, 1974
(Bargaining Unit Before Local 2687)
February 1974 article published in The New Haven Register
Laying Supply Lines Before LDH
Engine 4 - 1973 Maxim 1,000 GPM
Before the department adopted large diameter hose (LDH) in 1986, Hamden's pumpers had split hose beds with 3" on one side and 2-1/2" on the other. Depending on the pumper, you could fit approximately 1,000 feet of each size in the hose beds - somewhat less on the Telesqurt.
In July 1982, then-Deputy Chief/Training Officer John Tramontano produced an in-house slide presentation demonstrating both forward and reverse methods of laying supply lines.
Long before home computers and PowerPoint presentations, Tramontano's slideshows permitted every one of the department's 120 line personnel to remain familiar with department procedures, especially during winter months when outdoor hands-on training was neither desirable nor practical.
Engine 4 Firefighters Bob Surprise and Don Buechele stay well clear of the couplings as 3" and 2-1/2" supply lines drop from the moving pumper.
February 9, 1944 - Belle's Blessed Event at Station 3
February 9, 1944 article from The New Haven Journal-Courier (G. Donald Steele) - CLICK to enlarge
Belle was born in May 1942. She is shown here in this 1947 photo sitting between Lt. Everett Doherty and Larry Spahr of Co. 3. Bob O'Donnell is sitting in the driver's seat of Engine 3.
One of several of Belle's dog licenses that were saved at old Station 3. They were issued by the Town Clerk, Walter D. Connor. Mr. Connor remained the Town Clerk until the mid-1960s.
50 Years Ago
February 9, 1964
This photo appeared in The New Haven Register on Sunday, February 9, 1964. The department was conducting home inspections to help homeowners identify and eliminate common household fire hazards. Capt. Paul Rosadina and Firefighter Harry Cubbellotti are at the front door of a Bagley Avenue residence. (Some of us older "boomers" may remember the date of that article for another reason.)
(Newspaper article courtesy of Chan Brainard)
Website thanks to former HFRA president Mark Barletta, who shared this photo of his U.S. and State of Connecticut flags flying from the new flagpole at his home last week. The palm tree provides a hint as to its location (and it ain't Connecticut).
Mark, who is a flag historian, will be flying his Civil War Era 33-star flag during February to honor President's Day, and specifically our 16th president.
All former official U.S. flag designs are still considered official U.S.flags.
We regret to announce the passing on January 31st, of HFRA Honorary Member Nancy Saccani Hurlburt, widow of Hamden Firefighter Howard Hurlburt, Sr. and mother of brother HFD retirees Clark D. Hurlburt and the late Howard Hurlburt, Jr. She was 87. Nancy served as Hamden Town Clerk from 1987 until 1995, and was a member of Hamden's Legislative Council in 1985.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated in Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church on Monday, February 3rd, with interment in Centerville Cemetery.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Clark and the rest of the Hurlburt family.
Ralph & Ralph
July 1982 - Firefighters Ralph Dievert and Ralph Tomaselli during ladder training (Photo by John Tramontano)
100 Years Ago!
Coutts Brothers Served in Whitneyville's Fire Company
Today, Grandniece Donates Their Badges to the HFRA
William Coutts - Co. 3 Badge #16
Born in England, brothers William and Edward Coutts emigrated to the United States with their parents and four brothers in 1892. By the 19-teens they were living in Whitneyville, employed as milkmen with the Brock-Hall Dairy Company and members of the Whitneyville Volunteer Fire Association.
Many Whitneyville volunteer firefighters were employees of that dairy, which probably accounts for the white milkmen's uniforms they were sporting in the 1913 photo of the Co. 3 Hose-Laying Team (below). The captain of the team was Henry Hall.
The Coutts brothers' grandniece, Mary Ehrler, recently donated their Co. 3 badges to the HFRA.
Edward Coutts - Co. 3 Badge #46
Mary Ehrler of Bethany, whose late husband, George, was a New Haven firefighter, was eager to find a good home for her two great uncles' Whitneyville Co. 3 badges. As her family's historian, Mary had kept the badges in safekeeping for decades. But she was concerned about what would happen to the badges after she was gone. After being referred to the HFRA by B/C Bill Fitzmaurice last December, Mary recently presented the badges to the Association.
#16 - Issued to William Coutts
Mary Ehrler Donated Co. 3 Badges 16 and 46
#46 - Issued to Edward Coutts
Co. 3 Firefighter Edward Coutts - c. 1914
William Coutts - 2nd Infantry, N.Y. National Guard
At left is a one hundred year old photograph of Edward Coutts (1890-1965), in his Whitneyville Co. 3 dress uniform. Firefighter Coutts was issued badge #46, shown in that photo.
Above is brother, William Coutts, pictured when he was a member of the 2nd Infantry, New York National Guard in 1916. Before working for Brock-Hall, William had been a blacksmith Born in 1887, he died in the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918.
Both of the Coutts brothers are in this classic 1913 photo of Co. 3's hose-laying team, a photo that has been on this website since the beginning. Mary Ehrler, whose grandfather, John Coutts, was brother of William and Edward, provided the website with an old newspaper article that identified all of the Co. 3 members in this photo. We have added their names to this version of the photo. (CLICK to enlarge)
Whitneyville Volunteer Fire Company 1913 Hose-Laying Champs (CLICK to enlarge to read names)
1850s Fire Tower Designed by Coutts Family Firm in England
David and Sarah Jane Coutts came to America in October of 1892 with their six boys, all under the age of 14. William was five and Edward two.
In 19th century England, William and Edward's grandfather, Charles Coutts, owned a company that built carriages. Charles Coutts' great-great-granddaughter, Mary Ehrler, shared this original design for a mid-19th century fire apparatus tower from the family's carriage manufacturing company.
"History" is today, too.
The things we see and expereince today will always be of interest to us and others many years down the road. Think about it! We really never take much notice of the things around us because we take them for granted. We see and expereince them every day. Big deal, we think to ourselves. Who cares? But then we look at photos of the same surroundings from twenty, thirty, or fifty years ago and we suddenly realize that everything changed. We think about a long-gone building, or landmark, or friend and think, why didn't I take a photo? Well, some of us did.
A significant chronicler of department life years ago was John Tramontano. While serving as the department's training officer from 1981 until he was appointed chief in 1984, John documented many department activities on color slides, paid for out of his own pocket. After the HFRA was formed in 2009, John donated hundreds of his slides to be shared on the website.
Changing the Hose on Engine 9
July 1982 (Photo by John Tramontano) - CLICK to enlarge
Before the introduction of LDH supply lines in the mid-1980s, the cloth-jacketed 2-1/2" and 3" supply lines on each pumper had to be changed periodically and after each use. In this July 1982 photo, members of Platoon 4 are changing the hose on Engine 9's 1965 Mack.
The "work uniform" when changing hose on a hot summer day was whatever you wanted. Pictured here are Jerry Dinnen (in red shirt), Ray Dobbs on the tailboard (in white tanktop) and Harold Mangler (no shirt).
Jerry, Harold and an unidentified firefighter are connecting the next length of 3" hose to be loaded into the hosebed. Up top in the white T-shirt is George Patten. The other firefighter cannot be identified.
55 Years Ago!
North Haven Brick Co., State Street, Hamden Saturday, January 31, 1959
FF. Edward Bevins at the top of the ladder.
These photos by Donald Yoshua appeared in the New Haven Sunday Register the day after a January 31, 1959 fire destroyed the home of a 10-member Hamden family on State Street.
Chandler Brainard was there as a young member of Hamden's Civil Defense Fire Auxiliary. He offers vivid and insightful recollections of that day in an article he wrote for the website nearly five years ago.
Firefighters prepare to attack with a 2-1/2" as Ff. Warren Blake operates the pump of Engine 3 (CLICK to enlarge)
Photo No Longer a Mystery
It was either "Farewell" or "Welcome Home!"
Gathering For Firefighter Warren Blake (CLICK to enlarge)
Portion of the HFD roster from the 1951 Hamden Annual Town Report
This photo is believed to have been taken at a gathering at Warren Blake's home sometime in the winter of 1951 or 52. Chief Raymond C. Spencer and several on and off-duty firefighters stopped by to wish him either farewell or welcome home after being called back to active duty in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War.
Warren joined the Hamden Fire Department in April 1949. Like all young Hamden firefighters at the time, he was a veteran of World War II, serving as an Electrician's Mate in the United States Navy.
The 1951 Annual Town Report listed Warren as "A.W.L." (absent with leave), referring to his recall to the U.S. Navy. According to fellow retirees who were on the job at the time, Warren returned to duty about a year later with his seniority intact. He retired on his 30th anniversary with the department in 1979.
Warren Blake was a charter member of the HFRA. He passed away in September 2009, shortly after its formation.