|Title||Columbia City Fire Department, 1901 |
|Caption||Columbia Fire Department volunteers and their two pieces of equipment, a manual pump engine and a hose cart. It is rumored that the nearest team and wagon were commandeered to pull the equipment when an alarm was sounded. A bugler sat up front to warn traffic to yield the right-of-way. |
|Notes||Sign on building reads: Columbia Fire Department.|
Caption on image: Pinney, 705 - 1st Ave., Seattle.
Caption taken from RVHS records.
See transcribed article in "Additional Information" below for more information.
|Subjects||Fire fighters--Washington (State)--Seattle|
Fire stations--Washington (State)--Seattle
Fire engines & equipment--Washington (State)--Seattle
|Places||United States--Washington (State)--Seattle|
Columbia City (Seattle, Wash.)
|Digital Collection||Rainier Valley Historical Society Photograph Collection |
|Accession Number||93.001.357 |
|Ordering Information||To order a copy of this photograph, please email Rvhsoffice@aol.com and mention the Accession Number. |
|Repository||Rainier Valley Historical Society, Seattle |
|Repository Collection||Hall-Summers Collection |
|Physical Description||1 photographic print: b&w; 8 x 10 in. |
|Digital Reproduction Information||Scanned as a 3000 pixel TIFF image in 8-bit grayscale, resized to 640 pixels in the longest dimension and compressed into JPEG format using Photoshop 6.0 and its JPEG quality measurement 3. |
|Additional Information||This posed photo of the Columbia City Volunteer Fire Department was taken in 1901. The building behind them housed their fire fighting equipment and was located on the northwest corner of Rainier Avenue and Hudson Street adjacent to the City Hall. The volunteers were apparently called away from their work for this photograph as most of them are wearing their business suits.|
Their two pieces of equipment include, on the left, a manual pumping cart and to the right, a hose reel cart. When the siren at the top of the nearby light pole sounded the volunteers left their jobs or their homes and ran for the fire station.
Usually the volunteers pulled the equipment to the scene of the fire even if it meant running up the Hudson Street hill East of Rainier Avenue. On the occasion when a team of horses happened to be in the vicinity, they were commandeered to pull the equipment.
As soon as the new settlers to Columbia started building their homes and businesses, a water system was installed that included the installation of fire hydrants. The source of their water was a lake on the side of Beacon Hill a few blocks west of Empire Way, now M.L.K Way, and about Brandon Street. The lake was named Hastings Lake after one of the first residents in Columbia, the attorney, H. A. A. Hastings.
When most of Rainier Valley was annexed by the City of Seattle in 1907, the volunteers were replaced by Seattle City employees and a new fire station, #28, was constructed on Orcas Street in the Hillman district, one-half block east of Rainier Avenue. The city built a two story wooden structure with the usual brass pole from the floor up through a hole in the ceiling to the second floor providing a quick way down when the fire alarm sounded.
A team of four horses were kept in readiness in the event of a fire. When the gasoline engines came along they replaced the horses and the old fire wagons.
The top of the hill in the background of the photo became the site of the Hitt Fireworks Co. in 1905, about four years after this photo was taken. The company grew in size and eventually had 35 production sheds spread out over the hill. They became internationally known for their fireworks and the extravaganzas they produced throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Their last show was for Ivar's during Seafair in 1974.
Several years later Dawson Street was cut through on the lower part of Hitt's Hill leaving a steep, almost vertical cliff up to eighty feet high. Over the years the cliff has had sections of the bank fall into the back yards of the homes below the bank.
The two acre wooded site has never been developed and has recently been in the news as a possible site for a greenbelt or a park. The view is outstanding. The city and county have designated almost enough funds to save it from becoming a housing project.
By Buzz Anderson