The history of Hopewell Hose- 100 Years of Service & still going strong.
A group of men met at Underhill's Hall, the former St. Columba Church and presently the antique center, on June 29, 1912 for the purpose of forming a fire company in Hopewell Junction. Officers were elected and the original charter signed in October of 1912.
The first piece of equipment was a hand pumper, that was pulled by hand or towed behind a car, and was borrowed from the Protection Engine Company of Fishkill. The company responded to its first alarm on March 1, 1914 however due to the heavy snow storm at the time, the engine could not be moved.
In September 1917, the company appropriated $800 towards erecting a fire house and the building committee was instructed to commence operation. The location of the fire house was on a lot donated by Mr. J. Rapalje. It was located where Turner Street joins Route 82 at the north end of the railroad bridge.
In the twenties:
A motion was carried December 13, 1920 that a committee of three be appointed to see the ladies and invite them to a special meeting to be held at the hose house in regard to organizing a ladies auxiliary and social club in conjunction with the hose company.
Mr. Colt, a representative from the Buffalo Fire Engine Company was present to describe the Ford Pumper and Chemical Engine sold by his company. He would deliver it for three thousand dollars.
The first fire the new engine was used at was R. Heady's smokehouse which was attached to the main house. The engine arrived promptly and quickly had it under control by using chemicals. This was on June 9, 1922. The fire engine of the Hopewell Hose Co. answered all alarms in the Town of East Fishkill and parts of the Towns of LaGrange, Beekman, Union Vale, Fishkill and Wappingers.
The forming of a fire district was discussed.
In the thirties:
The town board took out insurance on active members of the company. A fire district was approved by the town board and commissioners were appointed on December 1, 1936.
Mr. L.W. Sequine, chairman of the fire commissioners, reports the purchase of a new Diamond T fire truck for four thousand dollars.
Land was purchased on Church Street for the new firehouse.
The last meeting in the old firehouse was June 8, 1936. The meetings were held in the Town Hall after that date.
The first meeting held in the new fire house was on February 14, 1938 and the dedication was held on February 28 of the same year.
In the forties:
A motion was carried that Hopewell Hose sponsor the forming of a Fife, Drum and Bugle Corps, and the committee be allowed to spend up to $100 for instruments.
The carnival was held on Mrs. Underhill's lot alongside of M. B. Way's house. Mrs. Underhill was given a set of 12 goblets in appreciation for use of the field.
A motion was made and carried that a first aid squad be formed in the company.
At this meeting, December 13, 1943, Monty Way requested a pair of mittens be bought for the driver of the fire truck. The motion was carried to purchase one pair of mittens for the driver, and the bill to be sent to the commissioners.
The following resolution was adopted: "That the firehouse shall be draped in memory of a departed member for 30 days after his death, and that no social or active doings shall be held until one day after the funeral."
President Way appointed a committee to arrange for a suitable memorial or plaque to be placed in the firehouse in memory of Stephen Mitchell, Albert Wilson and Charles Bacon who were killed in service.
Some fires of the forties:
- Arthursburg School House, Company responded. Damage was $1,000.
- Roundhouse at Hopewell, The old roundhouse was being used as a plastic factory. Fire was discovered at about 5:30pm. The rule then was that an officer must go with the truck on all alarms. Lawrence Russell was at the firehouse waiting for an officer.
- Home of Daniel O'Connell, Clove Branch, in the afternoon, in November, the alarm was turned in and the company did not respond. The reason the company did not respond on the first call was because all the firemen had gone deer hunting.
In the fifties:
Fishkill firemen complained that they could not find the chief of the Hopewell Company at the recent Arcadia fire because he did not wear his white coat and helmet. A resuscitator was purchased by the company at a cost of $658.00; $257.00 was raised by donations.
The Bingo committee reported that no livestock was available!
A motion was carried for the secretary to write a letter to Albany that the company was in favor of legalized bingo.
A member widened the entrance to the firehouse with the fire truck.
Chief warns hot-rodders against following truck too closely.
- Emmadine farms: 32 calves and several buildings. Help from Stormville, LaGrangeville, Beekman, New Hackensack and Fishkill. The fire had a good start before it was discovered, and by the time the pumpers were hooked up to pump water from almost one-half mile away, the barns were doomed.
- New Hackensack firemen answered a call for a fire on Robinson Lane. Hopewell was called but did not answer. The reason, Ex-chief Quackenbush told the newspapers, was that the fire company put a new lock on the door and the keys the firemen had would not fit.
- Three large barns on the Lepetka Anhus farm, Wiccopee, were struck by lightning. At this fire, there were 13 fire trucks, still, all the buildings burned to the ground.
In the sixties:
The fire company purchased two acres of land from Underhill Estate at a cost of $4800.00. This land is to be used for carnival grounds at the present time.
The footing was put in for an addition to the firehouse.
In July 1962, Hopewell Hose Company was to host to the Dutchess County Volunteer Firemen's Association for its convention and parade.
With the growth of the town the firemen reassessed their fire equipment and began replacing one piece at a time. Engine #5 was purchased in 1963 and a Ford Brush Truck was purchased in 1965.
The point system after a heated discussion at a monthly meeting became a fact of life in Hopewell Hose.
Junior firemen were voted in. A Rescue Squad was formed and radio dispatching became centralized.
In the seventies:
5 new pieces of equipment were purchased and it became evident the company needed a new building.
Firemen's Carnivals were a yearly occurrence in July at the Firemen's Field.
The dedication took place in October 1979.
Firemen were becoming more safety conscious and turnout gear, boots, gloves, helmets, Scott Packs (self-contained breathing apparatus) and radios became standard issued equipment.
Bingo was resumed every Tuesday night.
It became evident firefighters needed more knowledge in fighting fires in new buildings, since many contained materials that could be hazardous when burned. Each year more firemen went to various classes: Essentials of Firemanship, Hazardous Materials and Leadership Schools for various officers, Pump operations, etc.
Woman became executive officers in the fire company. A second 2nd Lieutenant was added to the firematic officers.
The annual elections & meeting are now in December, and the term of office now runs January to December.
As a final tribute to a deceased member, their flag draped coffin is placed on the Model T and members in full dress uniforms escort them to their final resting place.
The point system was discontinued with much elation.
Pancake breakfasts were initiated with great support.
The 25 week club ending with a New Year's Eve Party began and the Disc Jockey for New Year’s Eve is becoming a tradition.
In the Nineties:
In 1993, a new E-One 95’ Tower Ladder was purchased to accommodate the growth of East Fishkill. Because of the length and height of this vehicle, the only bay large enough was at Hopewell Hose. Overhead plumbing had to be removed and relocated to accommodate this tower ladder. The vehicle is known as 39-46.
After lengthy discussions, it was decided that every effort be made to keep the Model T Ford in excellent condition. The vehicle was restored to pristine condition and with the approval of the East Fishkill Fire District, was ready to be displayed at many functions including all parades in which the fire district participated. Members were reminded that this was the first motorized pumper in Dutchess County and it is every member’s responsibility to maintain the vehicle for years to come.
Due to declining attendance and revenue at the annual carnival, the membership decided to discontinue this event.
New equipment was purchased by the fire district which is housed at Hopewell Hose and is in use still today. The apparatus includes 39-11, 39-15, 39-51 and 39-45.
2012: Hopewell Hose celebrated our 100 year anniversary. An anniversary parade and fireman’s carnival was held. Bill Lee, a life member of Hopewell Hose was the Grand Marshal of the parade. Bill has been a member of Hopewell Hose since May 8, 1950!
Bingo continues to be a well-attended fundraiser every Tuesday night.
A long standing tradition of selling Christmas trees and wreaths has been reinstated by the membership and has been well received by the public.