Union City Fire Companies and Water System-1900
Union City Fire Companies and Water System -1900
By Miss Jessie Carle
When a town or village is first built up and the people obtain pleasing homes for themselves, their thoughts turn naturally toward some means for protection against fire. At least this was true of Union City for as early as 1873, they had an organized fire company. But even before this they had a hand pump which served for a number of years, and all the citizens used to help ump the water from the old mill pond.
Those first organized were the Lightfoot Hook and Ladder and the Hazelton Engine companies. Sometime after these companies were formed, they procured a chemical engine, which by the action of some chemical composition placed in it, forced the water through the hose. However, they only used this engine for a short time.
Then came the Johnson Hose Company in 1880, and the horse power engine two years later. All these companies saved a great many homes from destruction and worked faithfully with the simple and insufficient water supply. The next three companies which were organized are those which still exist and are honored as the Hunter Hook and Ladder, the Coleman Hose, and the Tipton Hose companies. Of these the Hunter Hook and Ladder Company was organized in 1879, and selected for its motto,”Always Ready at Duty’s Call.”The Coleman Hose Company, founded in 1883, took “We Serve to Save” for its guide and motto. And the Tipton Hose used “Ready and Willing,” since 1892.
Those three companies are volunteers, organized under the direction of the borough. Until the fall of 1890, they worked and fought fires without any means to obtain enough water or to get it quickly, when it was plainly seen that some provision for water supply must be made. Some of the citizens had thought of a city water works system, but, at the very mention of it, others would decry the idea. Then it happened that, after many long and heated debates a gravity system was adopted.
The source of the water is about three miles northeast of Union City and the spring being above the level of the town the water is forced to all the different sections of use in houses and shops. And now in case there is a fire, a pump station has been arranged so as to force the water through the pipes with a great pressure than that from the spring. Two large double pumps are used, and a fire is kept in this station all the time. The water used in the pumps is taken from French Creek.
Nearly the tannery is an automatic valve in the pipe which comes from the spring that prevents the water from going back when the pumps are working for a fire. There are valves also in the different sections which may be closed in case the pipe is broken.
Union City has a great advantage in that it owns its own water system, for it receives all the proceeds; whereas, if a company or corporation controlled it, the town would be no richer for having it.
There are now but four hundred and fifty homes and ships which are supplied with the city water, and the town realizes yearly about four thousand dollars revenue. At this rate the water system pays for itself about every four years, it having cost about twenty thousand dollars. With this provision for water, the fire companies can do a greater amount of good with much less labor and risk.
Now as we look back over twenty five years we can scarcely believe the change to be credible. Then there were but two poorly organized companies, with little or no water at hand. Now we have three companies comprising in all nearly a hundred strong and willing men who, by means of a good water supply, are ready at a moment’s notice to give their service in the preserving of property.