10/01/11 1137 W, 4 I - + 9 - 2 Fifty-Five Years Later

On September 3, 1956, the first Garner Fireman's Day was held. The festivities include a 40-minute parade that originated at the high school, wound down Main Street, and stopped at the fire station. Led by Miss Polly Lynn of Raleigh, the parade included apparatus from Wake Forest, Wendell, Cary, Clayton, Apex, Knightdale, and, of course, Garner. There was a live firefighting demonstration (shown below), an all-star Little Baseball baseball game, and a street dance featuring Red Rose and his Carolina Mountaineers. Click to enlarge:

News & Observer photo

Two Volunteer Fire Queens were named, chosen from sixteen applicants. Prizes were awarded for best decorated bicycles in the parade. During the fish fry, pots of hot grease full of hush puppies and fish caught fire. Flames leapt from pots to the roof of cooking shed. Firefighters doused flames using hand lines  after cooks using fire extinguishers failed. The crowd attending event was estimated at 7,000 people. The Garner Fire Department was four years old, with a new station at 110 Pearl Street, and three pieces of fire apparatus including a 1941 Ford mini pumper and a 1948 Chevrolet tanker.

Looking back county-wide, what else was happening in September 1956? Rural fire protection was a growing movement, with departments forming or having been formed since the Garner Fire Department organized in 1952. Many were formed to protect towns, or the rural districts outside of towns. Departments were also forming to protect Raleigh's suburbs, with Six Forks and New Hope already formed and Western Boulevard another year away. The Wake County Fireman's Association had also formed a year earlier in 1955. Here are some highlights of histories, drawn from my web site.

Courtesy Cary Fire Department

Courtesy Larue Stalvey

News & Observer photo

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