The historical outline below is taken from the program for the Second Annual Hamden Firemen's Memorial Service, held at Memorial Town Hall on June 10, 1934.
The History Committee for the event consisted of Messrs. Ralph Eno, Michael J. Whalen, and Harold G. Emerson.
The Whitneyville fire company's first station pictured below was pressed into service as a satellite classroom in 1913, when Hamden schools were overcrowded.
From the School Committee's report in the 1913 Annual Report of the Town of Hamden:
"It will be seen that with an enforced distribution of the Grades every seat at Whitneyville will be pre-empted, allowing no room for further expansion and rendering it impossible to relieve the condition complained at State Street. The temporary quarters at the Whitneyville Volunteer Fire Company are also fully occupied, there being an enrollment of 43 with accommodation for 42."
c. 1910 - Whitneyville Co. 3 - Note the white uniforms that resemble those of milkmen's uniforms, which is probably what they were. Brock-Hall Dairy was the largest occupancy in the area. Both Messrs. Brock and Hall were charter members of the association.
Hamden's First - A 1915 Maxim
In 1915, the Whitneyville Fire Association purchased this brand new Maxim triple combination pumping engine for $5,500. The apparatus was built on a Thomas Flyer chassis and was Hamden's first motorized apparatus. It was considered a triple "combination" engine because it had a 500 GPM rotary gear pump, it carried hose, and it also was a chemical truck, as can be seen by the transversely mounted tanks behind the driver's seat.
This 1915 Maxim also had the distinction of being the Maxim Company's first motorized pumping engine, as noted by author Walter McCall in his 1976 book, American Fire Engines Since 1900, (Crestline Publications, Inc., Glen Ellyn, IL: 1976).
Until recently, it was thought that this pumper was turned over to Co. 8 when Hamden bought a new 1928 Maxim 750 GPM pumper for Co. 3. But it was Whitneyville's 1910 Locomobile that went to Co. 8 (see below). The fate of the 1915 Maxim is as yet unknown.
Hamden's SECOND Motorized Apparatus
1916 Connecticut Registration Certificate for the 1910 Locomobile Chemical Truck
The Whitneyville Fire Association not only had the distinction of acquiring Hamden's first motorized piece of fire apparatus, but also the second.
According to 1934 historical notes, in 1915 a 1910 Locomobile chemical truck owned by the Winchester Repeating Arms Co. was donated to the Whitneyville Fire Co. for "grass and other minor fires thus reserving the [1915 Maxim] pumping engine for graver emergencies."
At the present time, we have no picture of the 1910 Locomobile chemical truck - we hope someone out there may have one. But this scan of the 1916 registration certificate for the 1910 Locomobile, found in the earliest minutes of the Dunbar Hill Fire Association, proves its pedigree.
On January 28, 1928, Whitneyville's 1910 Locomobile chemical truck was turned over to the Dunbar Hill Fire Association, where it remained in service for two more years before being sold.
This photo of Co. 3 with their new Maxim engine was also printed on a postcard that was found in Joe Taylor's outstanding collection of old Hamden photographs. The caption on the postcard stated that the photo was taken on June 20, 1915.
June 20, 1915 - Members of the Whitneyville Volunteer Fire Association pose with their brand new 1915 Maxim combination pumping and chemical truck in front of their quarters at 39 Putnam Avenue.
The original wood-frame building was donated by the Winchester Repeating Arms Co. and subsequently moved to the site at 39 Putnam Avenue. Between November 1926 and May 1927, the building was torn down and a new two-bay brick building was constructed in its place. During the six months the new fire station was under construction, the temporary site of a Hamden fire station was actually a private home.
From the Station 3 Log Book (1926-1947): "We moved our [1910 Locomobile and 1915 Maxim] from the old Fire house to H.F. Hall's garage on Thursday Nov. 18, 1926. Was moved back to New quaters (sic) Saturday May 15, 1927." 116 Putnam Avenue was H.F. Hall's address, located between Clifford Street and Lilac Avenue. Mr. Hall was a prominent member of Co. 3 and part owner of Brock-Hall dairy.
The new two-bay brick fire station was officially dedicated on May 28, 1927. It was acquired by the Town of Hamden from the Whitneyville volunteers in 1951 and continued to serve as Station 3 until September of 1970, when new Station 3 was opened at the corner of Ridge Road and Hartford Turnpike.
1931 - West side view of Station 3 bell tower (and '29 Model A)
Station 3 Bell Tower
When old Station 3 was built at 39 Putnam Avenue in 1927, a bell tower was constructed atop the building for alerting the members of the fire company.
Thus far, these are the only photos we have that show a side view of the bell tower. They were taken from the backyard of 55 Putnam Avenue, where my grandparents lived from 1927 until 1951.
The upper photo was taken in 1931, with the family's 1929 Model A parked in the driveway. This photo is a lot clearer than the 1947 photo below it, which was cropped from a much larger group photo taken during a July 4th family gathering.
A close examination of both photos suggests that some sort of enclosure was built around the tower sometime after the earlier photo was taken. Hard to tell.
When I found these photos in the 1980s, I asked Marshal Bob O'Donnell about the tower. He said that it was torn down not long after he joined the department the same year the lower photo was taken.
A late-1940s aerial view of Whitneyville also shows the tower (see Hamden Then & Now) - Dave Johnson
Same view 16 years later
1967 - Ff. Sid Trower (Ed Doiron Photo)
May 1967 - Lt. Joe McDermott (Ed Doiron Photo)
Bowling at the Whitneyville Fire Station
1954 - Recreational League Bowling at the Whitneyville Fire Station (Photo from 1955 Town Report)
According to the 1955 Annual Report of the Town of Hamden, there were over 350 adults on 44 teams in four leagues that played duck pin bowling on the two lanes that were in the basement of Station 3. "On the Recreation alleys in the Whitneyville firehouse, groups of adults from all sections of the town enjoyed bowling each evening; Friday early evening hours and Saturday mornings being given over to the junior enthusiasts."
The lanes were not equipped with automatic pin setters. That function was performed by human pin setters who were stationed at the ends of the alleys. When setting up a fresh set of ten pins, the pin setter depressed a pedal that caused small rods to protrude up from the alley floor. Holes in the bottoms of the pins fit over the rods. When the pedal was released, all ten pins were perfectly arranged and ready for the next bowling ball. The lanes are still in the building at 39 Putnam Avenue that was once Whitneyville Station 3.
Old Station 3 Days Remembered
The website received an email the other day from Greg Schwartz who, with his friends, was a frequent 1960s visitor to the basement bowling alley at old Station 3 on Putnam Avenue. A portion of Greg's "thank you" message, copied below, was directed at the Hamden firefighters who worked at old 3's in the sixties. Fortunately, Greg, many of these guys are still with us. Your message will be delivered and, no doubt, appreciated.
I have such wonderful memories of you guys letting us neighborhood kids use the bowling alley and getting to know some of the firefighters. I wanted to thank you for making Hamden a great place to grow up in the sixties.
Thanks and I hope we were not a nuisance.
The Whitneyville Bowling Alleys in the basement of the Putnam Avenue fire station was a recreational asset to Whitneyville and surrounding neighborhoods. In 1948, members of the Hamden Junior Chamber of Commerce contributed their time and talents to renovate the facility for another 20 years' worth of use.
The Hamden Chroncile article and advertisement below are courtesy of the Hamden Historical Society
Hamden Chronicle - August 26, 1948 (CLICK to enlarge)
Old Whitneyville Station 3 - Putnam Ave.
September 2, 1948 Chronicle ad for the Whitneyville Alleys (CLICK to enlarge)
1969 - In the kitchen on old Platoon 1 (L-R): Lt. Joe McDermott, Howie Hurlburt, Sr., Sid Trower (Photo by Ed Doiron)
1969 - In the kitchen with old Platoon 3 (L-R): Joe Yoga, Sam Jones, Lt. Ken Harrington (Photo by Ed Dorion)
1969 - Dave Herrmann on watch with tie and dress hat, as was SOP well into the late 70s (Photo by Ed Doiron)
1969 - Ed Doiron's watch (ah, but then who took the picture?)
Old Station 3 dayroom - 1969 - Sid Trower, Lt. Joe McDermott and Ray Bantz (Photo by Ed Doiron)
Station 3 on Putnam Avenue - Rescue 1 and Engine 3 (Photo by I.A. Sneiderman)
September 1970 - Just before old Station 3 closed. Rescue 1 (1959 International Travel-al) and Engine 3 (1968 Maxim S-Model 1000 g.p.m.)
L-R: Walt Macdowall, Dan Murphy, Charlie Carlson, Lt. Ken Harrington, Joe Shields, and Joe Rahl.
Station 3 was dedicated on May 28, 1927. According to the Fire Chief's report in the 1951 Hamden Town Report, the building was turned over to the town during the 1950-1951 fiscal year. The station was closed in September 1970, when Engine 3 and Rescue 1 relocated to the new Station 3 at the corner of Ridge Road and Hartford Turnpike.