Fire Company - Friendship
FRIENDSHIP FIRE COMPANY
Before Port Royal had a fire company, the method used to put out fires was the bucket brigade and the alarm was sounded by the ringing of the church bells.
In 1904, what was then known as the Kepner row, between Third Street and the alley, was burned. This included the Kepner home, Sartain's store and several other houses. An upright water pump was brought from Harrisburg on a flatcar by the Pennsylvania Railroad in just one hour from the time the call was put through. It was taken to the river, the hose was placed under the railroad tracks and the soon the water flowed freely. The buildings in that section of town were doomed but the water saved the neighboring buildings and put out the fire.
Because of this fire and several others like it, the men of the town decided that something must be done, so on September 8, 1910 a meeting was held in the schoolhouse and a Fire Company was organized, J. C. McAfee was elected President Pro Tem and the following officers were then nominated and elected: Dr. A. B. Heckerman, President; F. M. Carpenter, Vice President; H. Earl Book, Treasurer; H. S. Deen, Secretary W. R. Wharton, Chief of Fire Department; Chas. B. Milliken, Assistant Chief.
The first fire fighting hose and nozzles were purchased in January 1911. April 10, 1911 is the first time that the present name "Friendship Fire Co." is mentioned.
At the May 8th, 1911 meeting, the president appointed W. C. Taylor, H. S. Deen and Cloyd Rice to act as a "Sounding Committee" and find out who were interested in taking an active part in having a festival.
The first festival was held Saturday evening, July 13, 1912 with net proceeds amounting to $99.49
August 18, 1911, a motion was made to purchase the #3 Hose Cart with iron hub caps at $80.00 from Snyder and Co., Philadelphia. Fire bell or gong, bar and other equipment were likewise purchased.
In 1913 the company bought the lot with house on Market Street, now owned by C. W. Taylor. They paid the sum of $675.00. Sold same to C. W. Taylor in 1926 for fifteen hundred and twenty-five dollars.
June 8, 1914, the barn and livestock of R. E. Groninger burned. The Friendship saved all the small buildings and nearby houses.
The fire house on the ground at the rear of the Port Royal National Bank was built in 1927. The land was deeded to the company with a stipulation; the ground is theirs only as long as the building is used to house material of the company.
In 1928 the Company purchased its first Fire Truck. It was a truck made by Hahn. Hahn Motors Incorporated had their manufacturing Plant in Hamburg, PA.
The present Community Hall and Fire House was started by a ground breaking ceremony on August 4th, 1965. W. W. Naylor lifted the first shovel of earth while G. M. Runkle, C. W. Taylor, H. S. Deen and Grover Wolfgang, all charter members, watched. The dedication services were held April 1956 and the mortgage was burned by General Groninger at a regular service on Monday evening, January 16, 1961.
This building has become the place for most of the town's community activities. Dances, banquets, meetings and many high school activities were held there. Since 1959 the meeting rooms have become the election rooms where twice a year candidates and elected officials are chosen.
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