07/15/12 126 W - + 3 - 3 Comparative Analysis of Fire Department Milestones

Pretty good title for a paper, isn't it? For your Sunday afternoon enjoyment. Reader input and corrections are welcome. Sources are a bunch of fire department yearbooks, a bunch of Wikipedia pages, and a couple other web sites.
  City Created First Fire Company Volunteer Department Created Career Department Created Notes
Asheville 1797 (incorporated) 1882 The decade of the 1880s (?) 1924  
Charlotte 1768 (incoroporated) 1845, first mention of fire engine 1865 (?) 1887 Plus one volunteer company,
Neptune, that continued until 1907.
Durham 1849 (railroad station)
1869 (incorporated)
1876 1882 1909  
Greensboro 1808 1849 1884-1886 1926  
New Bern 1710 1773, town authorized to create fire company 1867 1961, first career members? NBFD is a combination department.
Raleigh 1792 1819 1852 1912  
Wilmington 1739-1740 (incorporated) 1846 The decade of the 1870s (?) 1897  
Winston-Salem 1753 (Salem)
1849 (Winston)
1913 (Winston-Salem)
1772 (Salem)
1876 (Winston)
? (Salem)
? (Winston)
1913 (Winston-Salem)

OK, I have to ask, If Salem was first in incorporation, and alphabetization, why is it Winston-Salem and not Salem-Winston? Was it based on size of the two cities at the time? Or was it because Winston was named the county seat? The US Postal Service combined the post offices, but does not explain why Winston came first when they did not… Does anybody know?
Donaldson - 07/15/12 - 21:30

My best guess is that Winston was a manufacturing center, and perhaps the better-known or more economically prominent of the two??
Legeros - 07/15/12 - 22:05

Or, duh, Winston was bigger than Salem. Looking at the 1907 Sanborn Insurance Map, the populations were 15,000 (Winston) versus 8,000 (Salem).

Legeros - 07/15/12 - 22:07

I think Fayetteville has a little age on them too, as far as fire departments go, don’t they?
FireDog12569 - 07/16/12 - 00:50

Yes, Fayetteville is an old department. My chart is incomplete in that regard. I probably omitted a couple departments worthy of inclusion.
Legeros - 07/16/12 - 07:38

Growing up in the Winston-Salem area, I was told that it dealt with size and the economic power of Winston.
Curtis Teague - 07/17/12 - 21:53

Jennifer, I don’t have a definitive answer for you. In fact, I don’t know that a single decision led to that point. Rather, the year 1912 has been the prominent milestone in the department’s story. It’s the milestone that members have cited, and identified with, for ages. Five years ago, for example, RFD published a commemorative book subtitled 95 Years of Tradition. Why has the career milestone been “the” milestone, versus the 1819 milestone, or the 1852 milestone? That’s a more detailed answer, and with a couple possible or parallel explanations. I’ll commence analysis and advise at a later time. Or let other readers tackle that.
Legeros - 07/18/12 - 09:51

Bling! The computation engine has produced this answer, regarding the second question above. The 1912 events and their narrative has been documented for decades, and passed down from generation to generation of firefighters. It was a tangible and easy-to-understand beginning to that phase of the Raleigh Fire Department’s history. The earlier milestones didn’t resurface until the research of local historian Elizabeth Reid Murray in the 1970s, and which was used by Capt. B. T. Fowler in his historical text in the 1984 commemorative book about the department. But those earlier milestones were sparsely documented, and certainly didn’t have the photos (few as they are) from the 1912 period. Thus, the 1912 milestone has just had many more decades to percolate in the department’s consciousness. And thus is the first (and perhaps only) anniversary date/year that was suggested, any time anniversaries were discussed.
Legeros - 07/18/12 - 10:00

Fayetteville Fire Dept was chartered in 1791. The first apparatus was acquired in 1832. In 1947, the first 24 hr personnel were assigned to station 1 and 2. More can be found on our department website.
Frick - 07/20/12 - 00:02

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