The Union Fire Company

The Union Fire Company (HMKM3)

Location: Carlisle, PA 17013 Cumberland County
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Country: United States of America
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N 40° 12.191', W 77° 11.399'

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Walking Tour Stop 22

On April 6, 1789, a group of local real estate owners - worried about the possibility of fire in the borough - organized Carlisle's first volunteer fire company. They named and modeled it after the Union Fire Company of Philadelphia, the first fire company in Pennsylvania. From 1789 until 1819, members held meetings in the Courthouse. A two-story town hall, build in 1819, then housed fire apparatus on the first level and a meeting room upstairs. The town hall, the Courthouse, and the equipment burned in the great Courthouse Fire on March 24, 1845.

In 1859, the company found a new home directly across the street from this marker on West Louther Street. It remained there until the construction of the original portion of this building in 1888. In 1977, the company completed a six-bay addition to the west side of the building.

The company purchased its first steam-powered apparatus on May 16, 1870 from Silsby & Company for $4,000, buying a second Silsby in 1896. For over 40 years, volunteers drew these heavy pumpers by hand. Not until August 1, 1910, did horses begin pulling the apparatus to fires.

On August 25, 1913, the first motor-driven equipment - a 1913 American LaFrance combination chemical and pumper - was pput into service, probably the first motorized fire equipment in the county. A newer, largere American LaFrance pumper, on display in the company museum, replaced it in December 1929. In December 1930 the company began providing the first rural service to Cumberland County with a Ford pumper and service engine, soon replaced by a 1935 Hahn.

Proud of its heritage from the 1820's when it began using a hand pumper to replace bucket brigades, to its early use of self-contained breathing apparatus in the 1950's, the Union Fire Company has been an innovator in fire prevention and control. It carries on its legacy as one of the oldest continually operating fire companies in the United States.
HM NumberHMKM3
Placed ByHistoric Carlisle, Inc
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, September 18th, 2014 at 5:40am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 313611 N 4452608
Decimal Degrees40.20318333, -77.18998333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 12.191', W 77° 11.399'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 12' 11.46" N, 77° 11' 23.94" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)717
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 47-57 W Louther St, Carlisle PA 17013, US
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