Part 1 – It All Started in 1924…
The date was February 19, 1924. After a fire destroyed Ruth Hall’s home 37-villagers vowed to never go without fire protection again. They met at the Harmony Chapel and organized a community club and fire department. The following officers were elected: Harry Staples, President; John Fogarty, Vice-President; Adah Hawkins, Treasurer; Gladys Hall, Secretary; and Howard Hall, Marshal.
Now that they were organized, this group went to work fundraising. The first event they held was a Ham and Bean Supper, at the Twin Elms Farm, on March 3, 1924. This event raised $494.32. Little did they know at the time that this event would be held every year for nearly the next twenty years.
On March 10, 1924 the organization met again and officially passed a motion to name the department the Harmony Fire Department and Improvement Association. They also agreed to set a one dollar membership fee and dues of a quarter monthly.
Now that they had a name the department needed equipment. They had no truck, hose or other firefighting equipment at all. So a committee was formed to purchase these things.
The treasury continued to grow. In June there was $888.12 in it, which didn’t come close to the amount needed for a truck. The decision was made to incorporate, which happened on June 27, 1924, after a five dollar incorporation fee was paid.
Part 2 – 1925: The First Fire Station
By mid-March of the year 1925 the Association acquired its first pieces of equipment. This consisted of twelve hand-operated fire extinguishers. Although state-of-the-art at the time, they provided little help in fighting a fully engulfed fire. A fire truck would be needed for those situations.
There were problems with purchasing a truck. Where to house the truck was a major question. A big, old, unused barn adjacent to the Harmony Hotel, across from the Brown and Staples store, was leased for three-years to become the firehouse. It required some renovations, such as widening the entrance, strengthening the floor, and adding a kitchen.