New Haven Sunday Register, August 9, 1959 (Courtesy of Anthony Zaino) CLICK to enlarge
New Haven Evening Register, September 29, 1959 (Courtesy of Chan Brainard) CLICK to enlarge
HFD Provided Special Summer Service on the Farmington Canal Trail
August 11, 2002 - Firefighter/EMT Victor Jackson (Photo by Bob Mordecai)
Sunday, August 11, 2002 - Hamden Firefighter/EMT Victor Jackson is shown on an HFD bicycle at the Sherman Avenue parking area near the Farmington Canal Trail.
On weekends during summer months in the early 2000s, the Hamden Fire Department provided a special service to canal line hikers and cyclists. An EMT on a department bicycle would patrol six miles of the Famington Canal Trail between Sanford Street and the Cheshire town line to provide water and, if needed, a speedy first response. Engine 9, one of the 1984 Pierce Dash pumpers, can be seen in the background.
The Canal Line - When the Tracks Were Still There
The "Canal Line," begun in the late 1840s, connected New Haven with Northampton, Massachusetts. It basically followed the route of the relatively short-lived Farmington Canal, which had been completed in the mid-1830s. Passenger rail service on the Canal Line ended in the early 1930s, but freight service continued until the early 1970s. Hamden firefighters were kept busy when sparks emanating from the wheels of the freight cars ignited the tall dry grass that grew beside the roadbed.
At the old Sherman Avenue Bailey Bridge overpass. The bridge and this section of Sherman Avenue were completely eliminated in the early 1980s when Sherman Avenue west of Whitney was re-routed to its present location. CLICK to enlarge.
In April 1979, Hamden Firefighters' Association president Bob Slater and secretary Dave Johnson hiked the canal line tracks from Mt. Sanford Road to Sanford Street. At left, Bob is nearing the old Sherman Avenue overpass, carefully walking a rail to avoid the puddles of water that collected along the abandoned tracks.
In the photo below, the Canal Line tracks and the old Farmington Canal are shown side-by-side near Brooksvale Avenue. The demise of the rail line was ensured by the June 1982 Flood, which severely undermined the roadbed in many locations up and down the line. With a few exceptions, the Farmington Canal Trail follows the original railroad right of way from New Haven north to Southington.
The Canal Line next to the old Farmington Canal, just south of Brooksvale Avenue. CLICK to enlarge.
(Photo by Bob Mordecai)
Capt. Bob Surprise and Ff. Mark Barletta pose in front of Truck 1, filling in for Tower 1, at Station 3 during ladder testing in the early 2000s. Still on the job, Bob is now Deputy Chief of the Department. Mark retired in 2006 as Fire Marshal and is now president of the HFRA.
(Photo by John Tramontano)
June !982 - Fire training session in the police training room in the basement of the recently razed old Miller Library building, where Central Communications was first located. L-R: Ff./Paramedic Bob Surprise, Ff. Rick Kenyon, Ff. Don Buechele, Ff. John Longo, and Ff./Paramedic Howie Hurlburt, Jr. and an unidentified newspaper reporter.
Firefighter Billy Giaquinto during ground ladder training behind Station 7 in June 1982. Bill was a member of the Class of July 1970 that brought the department up to full strength for the new 42-hour workweek. (Photo by John Tramontano)