Thursday Doors – Tunxis Hose Company 1

Tunxis Hose 1
Tunxis Hose Co. 1

I first noticed this old fire house last spring when our daughter was recovering from surgery. She had been given permission to “walk up to two miles” and she clearly wanted to take that walk. I drove her into the center of Unionville, Connecticut and we set out to explore. We couldn’t venture too far in any one direction because we had a lot of snow last winter and the sidewalks hadn’t been all cleared. The last leg of our walk took us up to Hose Company 1. We snapped a couple of photos, but this was before I started with Thursday Doors, so I didn’t even look for a door.

Fortunately, two furballs brought me back to Unionville this week. I agreed to feed these guys and I stopped to snag a few photos. I didn’t have time to write about the building and make my normal time slot. I was touched that several people in this community noticed the absence of my door and asked if I was OK.

I knew right away that I’d be able to find out about the history of this building. It was deemed eligible to be added to the National Registry of Historic Buildings in 1983. The building is well maintained, and had been in active service to the town from 1893 until 1960.

NRHB Plaque
I know when I see this, I have something to learn about the building.

The building represents more than the history of firefighting in Unionville; it actually represents the history of the town itself. Before Unionville existed formally as a town, a Fire District was formed around this fire station to serve the Village of Unionville. In a lot of CT towns, there were fire districts before there were formal local governments. This is from the Hose Company’s History page:

On November 20, 1893, Tunxis Hose Co. No. 1 is formed to provide fire protection to the village of Unionville. Thirty men volunteer to serve, with Lucius C. Humphrey becoming the first foreman. W.W. Pinney is elected as 1st assistant and Michael Hoggerty as 2nd assistant. A hose cart, one shut off nozzle, two play pipes and 1000 feet of 2 ½ inch hose are purchased at a cost of $798.00, and Tunxis hose Co. No. 1 is now ready to fight fires.”

Another little bit of the history that I found interesting is the record of the first fire the company put out. Captain Nathaniel Hayden, a man who had been very much opposed to the formation of the fire company, was out of town when his house caught on fire. The cause was the explosion of the home’s oil burner. The fire company responded and the house was saved. To show his gratitude, Captain Hayden donated an eight-day clock to the company. The clock remains in excellent condition and hangs in the fire station that replaced Hose Company 1.

The clock isn’t the only thing in excellent condition. The building has been very well maintained. That’s a good thing, because the building is particularly interesting. It was built in the Victorian style, and the details in the brickwork are quite attractive. I think the people who built this station wanted it to stand as an important symbol of their affection for this village and their passion for firefighting. The tower in the back is actually for drying the hoses. Typically, the hoses would be hung over a beam and the beam would then be winched up from a platform at the top. I wasn’t able to get inside this station, and, according to various sources, if I had, I wouldn’t be able to get upstairs. The upper rooms are used for storage now, and firemen seem to need a lot of storage because the rooms are said to be packed solid.

I am glad the building is being maintained. I peeked inside and I see that their parade truck is parked in the bay along with some signage from what might be their annual fundraiser. The men and women who staff and support volunteer fire departments around Connecticut are vital members of our first responder community. They are still saving lives and property, on a daily basis, well over 100 years after this company first formed.

This post is part of the wonderfully fun Thursday Doors series from Norm Frampton. If you want to see the other doors, or contribute your favorite door, click on over to Norm’s page and look for the linky thing.

70 thoughts on “Thursday Doors – Tunxis Hose Company 1

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  1. I’m not sure why, but I think old firehouses are very cool, and this one is no exception. I’ve seen photos of some that have been made over into homes, and I think it would be my dream house. Loved the peek at the antique firetruck. Adding a couple of cool cats — that never hurts. Mega hugs =^-^=

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  2. Applause to every man and woman who have ventured out to fight a fire on our behalf. Great building and handsome door. :-) I had a note to you all ready asking where you were today and then deleted it thinking, hey, he has a right to take a day off. Just glad all is well with you and yours. :-) It’s hard having a fan club.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Judy! I got the photos late yesterday. I thought that I could write something up, but when I saw all the history, I wanted to take it slow. Of course, I could have used these next week, but, what’s the word? Oh, stubborn, yeah, that’s it :) I fell in love with the brick work.

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    1. Thanks Marian. Irony can be so perfect at times, can’t it? These days. towns would slap together a building, maybe dress it up a little, but they wouldn’t go to this kind of effort. These people made a statement – form and function.

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  3. I knew you’d be along in short order, Dan. As for the firehouse, I’m glad it’s being so well-preserved too. As a history buff and a fan of brick buildings from this period, I would certainly enjoy poking around this week’s entry. And a couple kitties thrown in for the “awwww” factor — smart way to decorate this post. Good one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Paul. These buildings are so wonderful to look at. I can see why they kept it in good repair (and in use for so long). I love the history, especially the bit about the first fire they fought. I had to toss the kitty-boys in there, they are pretty cute.

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    1. Thanks Lois. The windows are beautiful, even the one at the gable-end peak. They really went all out to make this building special. I love reading the history. That’s why this post was so late (for me) because there was so much to read. The department history page is wonderful, you can tell they are still very proud of this station (rightfully so, imo). And, yeah, Moncton is a handsome fellow. I think he’s about Teemu’s age, and very partial to Faith.

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  4. YOu find the coolest buildings, Dan, honestly! This firehouse is awesome!! LOVE the shots you got of it. And for those 2 cats well, you know how I feel about cats. I think anyone who knows me does. Great shots there too. I’m way behind on my end but felt it important to come over here to see what you have and to show my support of your work. LONG story short … I’ve begun some intensive PT, deep tissue massage, and detoxing all leaving me exhausted. But I have hope for the first time in over 20 years my body will be without pain some day! Great post, my friend, and I thank you for your effort you make to blog as consistently as you do!!! Now that is bravery!! <3

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    1. Thanks so much Amy. I hope the PT works out for you. I’ve been through short and long and intense PT and I know how it can help, but also how it can drain you of your energy. I wish you successful sessions and I hope you can reach your goal.

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      1. Thank you, Dan!! I’ll do whatever it takes to finally be pain free. The massages are the worst. Pounding table pain. Moving muscles, digging into muscles, that haven’t moved in years. Yup, pain. I’ll be writing a post about this. Anyways, I truly enjoyed this post. Your history lessons I LOVE. :)

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  5. Love the flag on the window. I’ve always found the American flag much more interesting than other flags. I just never suspected I would one day make it mine too. Maybe one year I’ll join the Thursday Door Challenge!

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    1. Thanks Deborah. It took me a while to figure out why they had the towers, too. In addition to drying them after use, I guess they sometimes need to be cleaned. In any case, the building is so pretty with that decorative brick work.

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  6. I love the bricks and the turquoise doors, and window trim. It looks great together. I never thought about having to dry out the hoses! I imagine they have quite a few sets in rotation then. I wonder what they do about drying them out at our districts station? We don’t have towers at all at ours.
    I’ll have to ask the next time I have an opportunity to see a fireman.

    I raised an eyebrow when I went over to Norm’s link up page and saw you hadn’t linked up yet and it would have been after 8am your time. Then I read the comments and saw your comment about posting late today. Better late than never! :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deborah. I got a couple of replies when I commented on other blogs. This was just a case of bad time management for me. I should have planned to take the photos this week and write it up for next week, but I thought I could get it done. Oh well, Norm actually lets you post these until Saturday.

      I’ve read that they have drying machines now, and I’ve read people saying that they just spread them out on the floor. Also, I think modern hoses might not have to be dried, unless they have to be washed off. I don’t think any departments are building towers at their stations any longer.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mary. Aren’t they just guys? There’s always a couple of minutes of “oooh you’re here to feed us” but then, after that detail is taken care of, it’s “yeah yeah, whatever.” Sooner or later though, they both manage to come over and snuggle up to me. Preston likes to just use me as a pillow. Moncton likes for me to play that game of “can I scratch you here?” until he smacks me when I get near his ears. I don’t even attempt a belly rub.

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      1. Oh, I get the “yeah, yeah, whatever” from my two, so I understand. I had to look up the name Moncton because it’s unusual…your daughter named her cat after a Canadian city? Or was it an obscure character in a book that likes to smacks people?

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  7. Very nice piece, Dan. Reminds me of a school assignment, about 6th grade. We were given a list of obscure, overgrown monuments. Our task was to find the monument then write a piece about it. I remember my mother driving me all over creation looking for these things. Can’t remember a single monument, but I remember well our adventures.
    Thanks – stan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Joey. I know we have a bunch of historic fire houses around CT, but this was the only one I knew I could get close too and was somewhat on my way somewhere I had to go. I love the details in the brick, and the windows.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jean. I actually think I have a picture of that truck in our town’s annual parade. Not exactly “in action” but at least cleaned up and on the move. You would think that a fire house would have been built more for utility than charm. I’m glad they went for both and I’m very glad it’s been maintained.

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  8. Beautiful area, and the history paints a certain character to it. Interesting how the city was formed around the fire station, not surprising, given its function, but still interesting. I remember reading how towns used to be formed around churches. I suppose each place has its own priorities.
    Lovely furballs, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Connecticut is kind of weird. We are the third smallest state, but we have something like 169 towns. Some are areas within other towns. Unionville is part of Farmington. The Farmington high school and police station are in Unionville. I think a lot of these smaller “towns” are aligned around a fire district. Thanks for stopping by.

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  9. Fascinating history. To be brutally honest, fire fighters in India never really get the appreciation and recognition that they deserve. Yes, they come to our rescue, we praise their courage and appreciate their hard work, but then we get back into our life and its a close chapter to be forgotten. I loved the red building in the picture and the first fire incident you mentioned. So much to learn from history, if only people are willing to learn from their mistakes. Great job Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I am always passionate about all this, the military, the fire fighters, the Navy and the Air Force and SWAT and all that. I have been to an Air Force Show once, I also got the opportunity to handle a Bofors gun once (except that they didn’t let me fire) and this year I will go for a Navy Show in October (sadly they told me not to bring in cameras for security reasons), but its so exciting to know about these things and talk to people who save lives and that make us feel comfortable. Salute to the true heroes.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I do love a good brick building, Dan. I don’t know. I’d be a bit suspicious of a fire that started in the home of a man not supporting the fire fighters. Maybe I’ve just watched too many episodes of “NCIS” and read too many mysteries. :-)

    janet

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