This history was extracted from the Anniversary booklet titled above.  The booklet "is dedicated to all the persons who have given freely of their time and knowledge to further the quality of fire service."  It was transcribed by volunteer Allyn Hess Perry.

Established 1891

This is an updated history of the Northville Fire Department, using the notes left by past department members and village historians. Village historians Herb Cory and Charlotte Russell have in the past both written about the department.

During the late 1880ís there were several disastrous fires in Northville and no adequate fire protection. Insurance rates went up and some companies refused to write policies for residents until some form of protection was instituted. The initial step was the building of the Northville reservoir and a water system for the village.

A group of concerned citizens met November 19, 1891 in the offices of Attorney James R. Van Ness to organize the Citizenís Hose Company No. 1. A two wheel, hand drawn hose cart was purchased from Gloversville. Secretary minutes for 1922 show that runners were put on the hose cart for winter use. The first fire the company responded to was in the Poole Drug Store on Main Street. A comparable piece of equipment is owned by the Company and used today for parades. When the need for more equipment was felt, a horse drawn hook and ladder truck was purchased from Gloversville for $150. Local horse owners were paid $3.00 per fire for the use of their horses. The village bought their first piece of motorized equipment, a 1927 Sanford Pumper. This was retired from service about 1959 and thereafter used for parade duty.

Church bells sounded the alarm for a fire until 1907 when a 900 pound bell was installed atop the Cole Block, now known as the Masonic Building. The bell was purchases from the Cincinnati Bell Foundry for a cost of $120. To ring the bell, two ropes hung down the side of the building. This system was not adequate and an electrically operated siren was installed some time prior to February 1923 (when it is mentioned in the Secretaries reports). It was placed on Van Armanís Ford Garage (now the sight of the Village Rooms) and around 1930 the siren was moved to the roof of the Masons building. Later, around 1963, the siren was moved to the Village Green and placed on top of a steel tower. The original siren was mounted atop a pole in the yard at Fulton County Garage, corner of Reed and Second Street. In 1991 the steel tower was removed and the siren was moved to the rear of the firehouse. The second siren is no longer used, as members of the department now have individual pagers.

In 1942 a fire protection agreement was instituted to furnish fire protection to outlying areas. A second truck, a 1941 Ford, was purchased, along with a Model B Ford pickup that was equipped with life saving equipment. The Town of Northampton signed an agreement with the village whereby Northville would furnish men and equipment for fire fighting beyond the village limits. This agreement is still in effect.

In September 1945 the Firemenís Association bought land known as the Cohn Block. In 1958 this was to become the sight of a new Fire House built by the Northville Firemenís Association. This one story, 3 bay concrete block building was enlarged to 6 bays in 1973 and later enlarged to become a two story building. The second story houses a large room for social functions and can be rented by interested parties. There is also an office for the Fire Chiefs files. Two large bathrooms were added, along with a well-equipped modern kitchen, which is used to serve breakfasts and dinner. The original mortgage was burned at a celebration in 1968. The first fire station on record was housed in the Cole block, now known as the Masonic Temple building.

At the annual Firemenís Banquet in May of 1941 Charles H. Duncan was presented with a gold medal for fifty years of service. In 1964 Elmer Cole was honored with a fifty year pin, and in 1975, Kenneth Warner was also honored for fifty years of service to the department.

Some of the early fires in Northville that led to the formation of a village Hose Company included The Thomas Rooney Block, just north of the present NBT building, in March of 1885, and in the summer of that year, the Sacandaga Hotel; a house and barn owned by Gardner Winney; and the carriage shop and house of William Van Dyke, on Reed street. In 1890 two fires made the citizens aware of the lack of fire protection. They were the Hubbell Metallic Binding and Glove Shop at the corner of Bridge and Second street and the Wright and Satterlee building, along with Dr. Blakeís house, located south of Lewekís Drug Store.

The first fire the new company responded to was in the Poole Drug Store on Main street, on November 19, 1892. In May of 1898 Sacandaga Park was nearly destroyed by a devastating fire that burned all but nine of the one hundred eleven cottages. Carried by strong winds the fire swept through the cottages and pines, despite the efforts of the bucket brigade that formed from the Sacandaga River. The loss was valued at 27,500 dollars. In July of 1902 the Old Baptist Church, north corner of Bridge and Main was struck by lightning. In 1909 the Winney House, east side of Main Street, opposite Center Street was destroyed. The same year Solomon Brooks store on Prospect Hill burned, along with the Lyons House, across from Water Street.

In 1918 Ray Hubble and Son had a second fire that completely destroyed the factory. Buildings as far away as a quarter mile were covered with burning sparks and embers, only the fact that the fire occurred in January and not in the dry summer weather saved the village from being consumed stated a fire department spokesman. The inadequate alarm system was cause for concern following the Hubble fire and plans for an electronic alarm system were formulated. The same year the grandstand and miniature train in Sacandaga Park burned, along with Manzerís Store on Third Street.

The following years were to bring many fires that changed the face of the village, including 1931, the Fry Block, with damage to the Cole Block. 1933, John Malloy building on Bridge street, including Langrís Market, Whitmanís Beauty and Barber Shop, Clemente Fruit Store and Simonís Billiards. Years later, in the fall of 1982, this same area was destroyed by another fire and torn down. During the thirties Roy Cruikshankís Hardware Store in the Fry Building, Cohenís Department Store were destroyed. The fifties brought fires that destroyed the Oneida Market including an appliance shop, barbershop and offices; the Tower Hotel on North Main Street, and Darby Glove Co. on Second Street.

Sacandaga Park felt the forces of destruction from the 1939 fire that took three cottages on Osborn Road, High Rock Lodge destroyed in 1951, the Rustic Theater in 1955 (only minutes after the ending of a matinee), 1964 saw the loss of Heeswijk and 1975 saw the end to an era with the destruction of the Adirondack Inn.

On February 11, 1981 the Charcoal Pit well-known seasonal eating-place, just below the bridge on Route 30 was destroyed. In 1982 another restaurant and bar on Route 30. The Log Cabin, was completely destroyed. During the span of one hundred years only three fire related fatalities are known.

Fire equipment through the years has included 1892 Hose Cart; horse drawn hook and ladder truck; 1927 Sanford with 500 gal per minute pump; 1941 Ford with 500 gal per minute pump, with 300 gal tank; 1958 Mack 750 gal per minute pump, 500 gal tank; 1951 surplus fuel Tanker, converted to 2000 gal water tanker with 210 gal per minute pump; 1967 Ford Tanker, 1500 gal of water with 350 gal per minute pump; 1977 Brockway with 1500 gal per minute pump, 1000 gal tank; Ford Pumper purchased from city of Johnstown in 1983, with a 1000 gal per minute pump, 1000 gal water tank. A 1990 Mack Pumper-Tanker, 1500 gal per minute pump, 1000 gal of water. A 1985 3/4ton 4 wheel drive Chevy rescue truck, replaced in 1991 with a four wheel drive GMC; May of 1985 saw the purchase of the Hurst "Jaws of Life" Tool.

Through the years Northville Fire Department has seen three of their members receive the prestigious Fulton County "Fireman of the Year" award. In 1969 it was awarded to David Jacquard, the 1972 award went to Ronald Hayes and the 1988 award went to James Groff.

The Northville Firemenís Association was formed as a Social organization. They are the owners of the building, and lease it to the Village of Northville. The fire fighters are all volunteers.

The Fire Department is the backbone of the community, responding to any and all emergencies, be it a lost child, a person caught in the spring ice break-up, a boating accident, near drownings, car accidents, cellar pump outs, and of course, fires. Through the years they have maintained a very efficient fire department, which holds the best insurance rating that is possible to get without being a full time paid department.


Past Chiefs


Emmett Lobdell
Edward Roberts
A. W. Heath
C. H. Duncan
G. H. Melville
William Foote Sr.
C. H. Duncan
Robert Grosso
William Foote Sr.
Borden Warner
C. H. Duncan





James R. Van Ness
B. Abrams
R. B. Poole
B. Eglin
Robert Patrick
Emmett Lobdell
C. B. Willard
Charles Duncan
Thomas Patrick
A. F. Heath
William Hollern
James Anibal
H. Fisher
John Cole
Cyrus Blowers
S. H. Lobdell
Charles Resseguie
William Eddie
Edwards Roberts
U. Patrick
Frank Eddie
E. G. Palmer
Edward Palmer
John Moore
Emilin Roberts
E. Arrowsmith
Arthur Heath
William Roberts
C. Blake
B. C. Sanford
George Michaels


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Copyright ©, 1991 Northville Fire Department
Copyright ©, 2001 Allyn Hess Perry, Jeanette Shiel
All Rights Reserved.

Last updated Tuesday, 13-May-2008 13:14:01 PDT