History 1851-1875

 

1856 – Uncas No. 3

 
Originally organized as Hand Engine No. 3 for the Falls Cotton Company in 1828, the fire company changed their name to Uncas No. 3 in 1856 in honor of the Mohegan Indian Sachem who had symbolic ties to water fall from which the textile mill acquired its power. The organization remained under this identity until 1867 when the City purchased a Jeffers Steam Engine and moved the fire company to nearby Sherman Street. The name of William M. Williams Steam Engine No. 3 was adopted after the Chief Engineer of the Norwich Fire Department.

 

1857 - Young America No. 1

 
Organized circa 1857 and located on Main Street near the former City Hall, the hand engine known as Young America No. 1 was in service for approximately three years before changing its name to Union Company No.1 circa 1860.

 

1858 – Waverly Hook and Ladder Company

 
Organized circa 1858 and located on lower Union Street, the Waverly Hook and Ladder Company was in service for approximately three years before changing its name to Wauregan Hook and Ladder Company in 1861.

 

1860 - Union Co. No. 1

 
Originally organized as Young America No.1 in 1857, Union Co. No.1 was formed in 1860 and was located at 182 Main Street. In 1861 the fire company was moved to Church Street in the vicinity of the former Otis Library. In 1862 the company disbanded.

 

1860 - Buckingham Hose No. 2

 
Buckingham Hose No. 2 was organized in 1860 and had a brief term of service which lasted one year. The location of the Hose Company is undetermined.

 

1861 – Torrent No. 1

 
In 1861 the ninety-two year old wooden hand engine named the “Torrent” was placed in service in Norwich Town. It served under this title until 1866 when it was renamed Torrent No. 4. Three years later the name of Torrent No. 1 was reinstated. In 1872 the 103 year old fire apparatus was retired from service. The hand engine eventually made its way to Fire Headquarters in the early 1900's and remained in the Norwich Fire Department's 3rd floor museum until 1995 when the new headquarters was built. Today we proudly display this rare firefighting apparatus at 10 North Thames Street at the present day Fire Headquarters.

 

 

1861- Wauregan Steam Fire Engine Company No. 1

The “Wauregan” was the first steam engine purchased by the Norwich Fire Department in 1861. The engine was constructed by the Amoskeag Locomotive Company of  Manchester, New Hampshire. The apparatus weighed 9,600 lbs. and had a capacity of approximately 700 GPM. The apparatus was located at 180-182 Main Street until 1885 when it was relocated to 67-69 Main Street. It is quite possible that the address of 180 Main Street and 67 Main Street are the same address and that the numbers along Main Street were reorganized with the expansion of downtown and the numerical clarification of North Main Street, East Main Street, West Main Street and Main Street. The Wauregan Steam Fire Engine Company No. 1 was in existence from 1861 to 1905 when it was traded as partial payment for a new American LaFrance Metropolitan Steamer. The apparatus’ call sign was changed to Engine Co. 1 in 1906 and moved to the Central Station (HQ) located at 24 Chestnut St. The name "Wauregan" is derived from the language of the Mohegan Indians indigenous to the Norwich area. The name is loosely translated as "everything well and good".

 

1861 - Wauregan Hook and Ladder Co. 1

Originally organized as the Waverly Hook and Ladder Company circa 1858, the Wauregan Hook and Ladder Co. 1 was formed in 1861 and was located at 31 Union Street adjacent to the new home of Niagara Hose No. 2. The address of this house would later become 67 Broadway. The Wauregan Hook and Ladder Co. 1 was in service from 1861 until 1905 when the company disbanded.
   

Wauregan H&L (67 Broadway) adjacent Niagara Hose

Wauregan H&L Helmet

 

1862 - Greeneville Fire Department

 
Greeneville Fire Department was established in 1862 under Chief Engineer John Wilbur to protect the mill village of Greeneville, Connecticut. This newly formed Department was created from the former Greeneville Fire Association which had been in existence since 1842. Greeneville’s first fire apparatus Quinebaug No. 1 was formerly the hand tub that protected the Shetucket Cotton Company. In 1862 it was renamed Greeneville No. 1.  The hand engine, Greeneville No. 1 , was in service from 1862 to 1867 when the village of Greeneville received one of Norwich's three newly purchased Jeffers Steam Engines. The fire company's name was changed to Greeneville Steam Fire Engine Co. No. 1 in 1867 and remained at this title until 1872 when it was renamed after Greeneville's former Chief Engineer D. R. Holmes. The D.R. Holmes Steam Fire Engine No. 1 operated from 1872 until 1876 when the Greeneville Fire Department was consolidated into the Norwich Fire Department. At that time, the D.R. Holmes Steam Fire Engine No. 1 changed its name yet again to Shetucket Steam Fire Engine Co. No. 7 and became the seventh apparatus/station of the Norwich Fire Department. Shetucket Steam Engine No. 7 existed until 1907 when the fire company's name was changed to Engine Company 2. Engine 2 remained a volunteer fire company until 1922 when the paid department took over coverage of Greeneville. Today, Engine Company No. 2 continues to provide Fire and EMS service to the inhabitants of the Greeneville District.  
 

1867 – Eagle Hand Engine No. 1

 
Eagle Hand Engine No. 1 was organized in 1867 and had a brief term of service which lasted three years. This Hose Company was under the care of the Greeneville Steam Engine Co. 1 and is presumed to be the hand engine that Greeneville Fire Department utilized before receiving the new Jeffers Steam Engines in 1867.
 

1867 – Hickory Hose No. 2

 
Hickory Hose No. 2 was organized in 1867 and had a brief term of service which lasted one year.  This Hose Company was under the care of the Neptune Steam Engine Co. 2 and is presumed to be the hand engine that the Neptune Steam Engine Co. 2 utilized before receiving the new Jeffers Steam Engines in 1867.
 

1867 – William M. Williams Steam Fire Engine Co. 3

 

Formally organized as Uncas No. 3 in 1857 for the Falls Cotton Company, the William M. Williams Steam Fire Engine Company No. 3 was placed in service in 1867 at 45 Sherman Street when the City purchased three new Jeffers steam fire engines. This new fire house and steam engine company operated out of Lafayette Square until 1906 when the steamer was replaced with a hose cart. Hose Co. No. 3 was in service from 1906 to 1908 when the station was turned over to the growing paid fire department. Chemical Co. No. 3 was placed in service with paid men in 1909 and operated out of the fire house until the station was retired in 1920. From 1920 to 1921 the apparatus designation of No. 3 was retired from the Norwich Fire Department. In 1922 the fire department converted all apparatus to automobiles and the No. 3 was reinstated as Engine Co. No. 3 stationed at Fire Headquarters. In 1925 a new Station 3 was put into service on Joseph Perkins Road and the apparatus was moved back to the falls area. In 1995 the station was closed and Engine 3 was moved back to the new Fire Headquarters on the west side. Today, Engine Company No. 3 continues to provide Fire and EMS service to the inhabitants of Norwich's Westside, Thamesville and Falls District.  
 

Circa 1860's - Fire Parade - Washington Square

The grand parades of yesteryear would typically showcase fire companies such as the one in the above photograph. Many of the organizations of this era were socially linked and often operated independently. Competitions called "Musters" were not uncommon at parades and festivals. Fire companies were often  pitted against one another in highly competitive disciplines with nothing more than bragging rights as their reward.
 

1868 - The Waterworks Project

The Waterworks project of 1868 was a large accomplishment by the City of Norwich. By impounding tributaries in the hills, large reservoirs were created. Due to the reservoirs elevation above sea level (250' in 1885), these water bodies were able to generate pressurized water to the newly installed hydrants of the City. In later years, pressures in upwards of 85 psi were generated downtown. This technological achievement gave rise to additional hose carts in the fire department. 

 

1868 - Lorenzo Blackstone Hose Company No. 1

Organized in 1868, the Blackstone Hose Co. No. 1 shared quarters with the Wauregan Steam Fire Engine Co. No. 1 on lower Main Street. This hose company was created following the completion of the water works project which provided pressurized water (hydrants) to the City of Norwich. Blackstone Hose Co. No. 1 was in service from 1868 to 1903 when the company disbanded.
 

1869 - Apollo Hall Fire

The Apollo Hall Fire occurred on February 14, 1869 and was located on Main Street near the corner of Shetucket Ave. (Chelsea Harbor Dr.). The fire proved to be a test to the recently purchased Wauregan Steam Engine (Amoskeag Machine) and Neptune Steam Engine (Jeffers Machine) located in the photograph.
 

1872 - Norwich Hose No. 4

Norwich Hand Engine No. 4 was organized in 1872 after the completion of the water works project which provided pressurized water (hydrants) to the City of Norwich. Norwich's fourth station was located at 80 Boswell Avenue.  Hand Engine No. 4 was in service from 1872 until 1874 when the organization was changed to a hose company. Norwich Hose Company No. 4 provided fire protection to the City of Norwich from 1874 until the fire company disbanded in 1906.

 

1872 - Independence Hose Co. 6

Independence Hose Co. 6 was organized in 1872 in the Thamesville District of Norwich. Located at 195 West Thames Street, Independence Hose Co. No. 6 was organized following the completion of the water works project which provided pressurized water (hydrants) to the City of Norwich. From 1872 to 1881 Independence Hose Co. 6 provided fire protection to the south west portion of the City. In 1881 the firehouse was closed due to unknown circumstances. In 1890 the need for fire protection prompted the reopening of the Thamesville firehouse and Independence Hose Co. 6 was reinstated. The hose company continued to operate from the firehouse until they disbanded in 1906.  In 1922 the firehouse was again reopened for the growing paid fire department. Engine 6 was stationed at this location and continued to serve the inhabitants of Thamesville until 1995 when the firehouse was retired and the paid department consolidated to the new Headquarters on North Thames Street.
 

1872 - The Great Boston Fire

On the evening of Saturday November 9, 1872 a large conflagration in Boston Massachusetts began to spread so rapidly that nearby communities were called for aid. The Honorable Mayor James Lloyd Greene of Norwich asked for assistance from the Norwich Fire Department. Approximately 150 men along with dignitaries and prominent individuals from Norwich boarded a train on the Norwich and Worcester Rail Road. It was decided that the Wauregan Steam Engine, Neptune/Delanoy Steam Engine and hose carriage from the Wauregan Hook & Ladder would be shipped with the men.  The Norwich Firemen helped battle the large conflagration over the next few days and returned the evening of the eleventh. 

 

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