June 15, 2012 - The week marks the third anniversary of the Hamden Fire Retirees' Association's website. Thanks to the generous contributions of photos and stories from dozens of HFD retirees and other fans of the website, we have published hundreds of photographs and scores of articles about past and present members of the Hamden Fire Department.
Jack Mordecai is ordained a Deacon in the Roman Catholic Church
Following his ordination, Jack and his family gathered for a photo with the archbishop. L-R: Daughter-in-law Angela (with grandson Andrew) and son Michael, Deacon John Mordecai, Archbishop Henry J. Mansell, DD, Jack’s wife, Clementina with oldest grandson Mike Jr., daughter Elisabeth, and sons John, Jr. and Joseph. CLICK on this photo to read more.
May 1982 - Asst. Supt. of Alarms & Apparatus Paul Wetmore, Sr. fine tuning Engine 3. (Photo by John Tramontano)
Horton Manufacturing Co. (Edwards Fishing Rods)
Home Place Monday, December 19, 1932
According to the newspaper article below, the Horton Manufacturing Co. was located at the top of Home Place on the right hand side of the road "on a hill behind St. Mary's Cemetery in Mount Carmel." The Hamden Fire Department logbook for 1931-1940 stated that the call was received at 11:15 p.m. Engines 5, 4, 3 and the hook and ladder responded, with a total of 32 personnel. Recall was at 4:00 a.m. $14,000 in damages was recorded.
The building occupant was listed as "Edwards Fishing Rod Co.", so the best guess is that the Horton Mfg. Co. was the mother company (clarifications are always welcome.) Veteran Hamden firefighter Bill Bossoli, now 93, recently recalled being one of the many witnesses of the fire when he was a boy.
From the New Haven Evening Register, Monday, December 1932 - CLICK to enlarge
CLICK on article to enlarge for reading
Edwards Fishing Rods
The Edwards Fishing Rod Co. was established by Eustis Edwards, who died the year before the fire. Sons William and Eugene eventually formed their own separate fishing rod businesses in Mount Carmel. William's company, Bill Edwards & Son, was located at 3321 Whitney Avenue, opposite the Yantic Beef Co. It was last listed in the 1957 Hamden City directory.
Eugene's business, Gene Edwards Fishing Rod Co., was located at 3820 Whitney Avenue, opposite the Sleeping Giant Golf Course. It was listed for the last time in the 1955 SNET telephone directory. (See the 1955 SNET yellow pages listings for both business at right.)
The Edwards Fishing Rod. Co. was well known worldwide for its fine custom fly rods that are now quite valuable. Check out the link below for more about the history of that company.
Rose Eastman O'Donnell, widow of retired Hamden Fire Marshal Robert "Bubby" O'Donnell, passed away June 15, 2012. Rose's funeral was Wednesday, June 20th, at the Church of St. Rita.
Bob O'Donnell served on the Hamden Fire Department from January 1947 until his retirement in October 1987, and passed away on June 15, 2008.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Rose's family.
Where or When?
A year ago this week this mystery photo was posted in the hope that someone would know when and where it happened. Two months ago, retired Dep. Chief Clark Hurlburt answered the question when he noted that it matched Tom Waite, Jr.'s photos of the Hoffmeister barn fire in January 1955. We now have the news article about that fire. CLICK on the photo. (Posted 6/17/11)
"Car 30, 10-1!"
This new 1966 Ford wagon replaced the 1961 Ford sedan used by the Deputy Chiefs. (Photo courtesy of Chan Brainard)
Two bids for a new deputy chiefs' car were opened at the December 13, 1965 meeting of the Hamden Board of Fire Commissioners. A bid of $2,435.68 was turned in by Bradford Ford (now Bob Thomas Ford), $150.06 lower than the bid received from Partyka Chevrolet. The Commission voted unanimously to purchase the Ford wagon, which is pictured above shortly after its delivery.
The relationship between Chief V. Paul Leddy and the Board of Fire Commissioners was generally a very good one. However, the selection of the color white for the new Deputy Chiefs' car may have been the Fire Commission's final attempt at asserting its authority over the chief, who, unlike the Board, vehemently opposed any color but red for Hamden's fire apparatus. The new town charter that took effect just three weeks later on January 1, 1966 greatly curtailed the Fire Commssion's power, giving the fire chief the authority to make almost all departmental decisions that previously required their approval. Five fire chiefs later, the Hamden Fire Department has yet to purchase another all-white vehicle.
The white '66 wagon eventually became the Superintendent's car when the Deputies got a new 1970 Ford wagon - a RED one. Several years later the '66 wagon was sold to a private party for $25.