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Sesquicentennial Anniversary Celebration
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By Historian David B. Meadows
March 3, 2024

Phoenix Hose, Hook & Ladder Co., No. 1 is celebrating a milestone birthday today, March 3rd 2024. Organized in 1874, we turn 150 years old. We are the oldest service providing nonprofit organization in Phoenixville and have been in continuous service since our first day. Over these 150 years, we have functioned as both an organization of only volunteers and also as a ‘combination’ fire company with volunteers and our own paid fire fighters. Today we exist as an organization of only volunteers working in combination with the Borough’s career firefighters.

We have operated out of 3 locations. Our 1st was at 1 North Main Street in the Borough’s Market House (now location of Root Down Brewing Co). Next was at 177 Church Street where we were for 141 years, from 1881 to 2022 (now Borough Parking Lot #9 which was donated by PHHL1 to Phoenixville Borough for the benefit of residents and businesses). Today we are located in the new Borough-owned fire station at 150 Paradise Street (off Nutt Road down from the new flashing traffic signal by Videon Chevrolet).

Over these 150 years, PHHL1 used fire apparatus that were dispatched to a fire scene three different ways. From 1881 until 1906, all fire trucks were ‘hand-drawn’; meaning they were pushed and pulled by many firemen to an emergency scene. These hose reels, ladder wagon, and hand pumper each weighed in at 800 to 1,000 pounds. Given the fire station location at the bottom of Main Street hill, it must have been a daunting task. From 1906 to 1917, ‘horse drawn’ fire apparatus was used. We had several horse teams over that time with the most famous being “Duke & Harry." This prize-winning duo was known for their superior abilities and tricks taught by our career driver, Nate White. Since 1917, fire apparatus has all been motorized.

Today, PHHL1 operates under the umbrella of the Phoenixville Fire Department as the volunteer branch. Over the coming months, we will be sharing more detail and photos of our 150-year history with postings showing the evolution of PHHL1.

We are joining with Borough of Phoenixville which is also celebrating a milestone birthday this year, 175 years. To celebrate our shared milestone anniversary year, the Borough of Phoenixville and Phoenixville Fire Department have teamed up to host a few special community events.
‣ Saturday, April 20th - Touch-a-Truck event at the Rec Center with food & fireworks
‣ Saturday, May 4th - First Responder Picnic & Open House at our fire station
‣ Saturday, May 18th - Firefighter's Parade as part of the Armed Forces Day / Jaycees Dogwood Parade

Stay tuned for more information on these events and our Sesquicentennial Celebration.


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