History of the

Stockton Fire Department

[San Joaquin County, California]













HEADQUARTERS STOCKTON FIRE DEPARTMENT....The above building, in which are stationed Engine Company 2 and Hook & Ladder Company 1, is located at 26-28 South Hunter Street. It was erected in 1868 for the joint use of the "Hooks" and "Eurekas" of the Volunteer Department. During Chief Carroll's first term a room was partitioned off for an office in the rear end of the building and it has since been known as headquarters. The Hazelton Free Library adjoins on the south. The corporation yard is in the rear, and a blind alley running from Market Street serves as a convenient rear entrance.

HOUSER & HAINES MANUFACTURING CO. Corner of Aurora St. & Scott Ave., Stockton, Cal.

STOCKTON ELECTRIC RAILROAD COMPANY, 606 N. California St., Stockton, Cal. F. W. Webster, Gen. Manager.

HON. GEORGE F. HUDSON Mayor of Stockton, Cal.

MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL...1) Michael Brisco, First Ward, 2) Francis Cutting, Second Ward, 3) William T. Shepard, Third Ward, 4) Dennis J. O'Keefe, Second Ward, 5)David J. Matthews, Fourth Ward, 6) Robert Inglis, Fourth Ward, 7) Joseph M. Gall, First Ward, 8) George H. Heiman, Third Ward.

MEMBERS AND SECRETARY OF THE BOARD OF POLICE AND FIRE COMMISSIONERS...1) E. C. Wagner, Chairman, 2) F. O. Meyers, 3) R. B. Haley, 4) Lois T. Newton, Secretary


A. C. RUSSELL, CITY CLERK AND GEORGE SIEVERS, CITY AUDITOR....It is with no small degree of pleasure that the "laddies" look forward to their monthly visit to the offices of the two gentlemen pictured above. Many years ago, when Stockton's financial legs were yet weak, the city's employes were often paid with scrip that was negotiable at a discount varying from ten to forty per cent, as the times warranted. Now, however, through the painstaking administration of its public officers, the city's finances are kept in excellent shape, and the warrants issued each month, when properly attested by the above gentlemen, are always good for their face value in gold coin.

SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY COURT HOUSE AT STOCKTON....The offices of the Mayor and other city officals are located in this building. The structure was erected in 1890 at a cost of $170,000, and is one of the handsomest public buildings on the Coast.



VIEW STOCKTON LOOKING EAST... "A city than which none more prosperous or delightful can be found in all the west." The stately courthouse of the San Joaquin County can be seen on the right, and at the head of the channel lies the site of the new hotel now under course of construction and which will cost, when completed, $500,000.

ENGINE COMPANY NUMBER 1... Stationed at 25 East Channel street. The building was directed in 1863 for the use of the "Weber's" of the Volunteer Department. It was then joined on the west by the Corinthian Building, a three-story structure which, when it was erected in 1850, was the largest building in a State of California. It was owned by Weber & Hammond and in 1851 contained the post-office, the court-room (presided over by Justice of the Peace S. Dean) a church, a theater, a public assembly room where society gathered in the early days to "trip the light fantastic," the law offices of Terry & Perley and Van Buren & Root, and a number of private lodgings.

E. F. WILLIAMS -- Coal Wood & Hay

ENGINE COMPANY NO. 2.... Stationed at Headquarters, 26 South Hunter street. The two handsome horses attached to the engine respond to the well-known names of "John D. Rockefeller" and "Senator Perkins," and the "oil king" might well feel proud if you were held in the same esteem by his fellowmen. They were trained to their duties by Mr. Salbach. On several occasions it has been necessary for him to leave them standing at a fire where sparks are raining thick upon them, but they only shook their manes and whinnowed. During the big pavilion fire Senator's side was badly blistered and he was out of commission for several days. If turned to loose on the street they will canter around the house, come in either rear entrance and take their places by the engine. Their driver, always an enthusiastic sportsmen, is willing to wager his cherry orchard against a setter pup that they are the best team in the service on the Coast.

HOOK & LADDER CO. NO. 1 .... Stationed at Headquarters, 28 South Hunter street. In the past fires have been infrequent in Stockton where the use of the tall ladders of the truck were found necessary. The many high buildings that have been erected in the past few years, however, together with those now projected, maybe at any moment in the future of the scene of the blaze that could be attacked successfully only with the aid of the above peace of apparatus.

CHEMICAL COMPANY & ASSISTANT-CHIEF MURPHY .... Stationed at 590 East Weber Avenue, in the house built in 1869 for the use of the "San Joaquins" of the Volunteer Department. Equipped with an excellently speedy pair of horses, this light piece of apparatus is enabled to arrive at any fire within a few moments after the sounding of the alarm, and it can be safely estimated that more than ninety per cent of the fires are extinguished by the Chemical. Should a fire have reached great headway before its discovery, the use of a heavy stream of water is absolutely necessary, but whenever blaze is found in its incipiency no matter how combustible may be its fuel, the Chemical is soon master of the situation, and without the heavy loss always accompanying the use of water.

ENGINE HOUSE NO. 4 .... Stockton's new $20,000 fire station will be completed and ready for occupancy on August 1st, next. When finished it will be one of the handsomest and most up-to-date engine houses on the Pacific Coast. It is the Chief's intention to stationed the La France engine in the new house which is located on Pilgrim between Main Street and Weber Avenue.

THE SAN JOAQUINS' QUARTERS AS THEY APPEARED IN 1873 .... The present Chief occupies the driver's seat on the old "Babcock." Fred Hahn is seen standing at the wheel and Andrew Ester is on the rear end of the machine. "Jimmy" Hill and Spencer Condy were posed on the turrets of the building and---Chase sat in the window beside the small statue of a fireman. The others distinguishable are John Kaffitz, Leonard Labender, Patrick Dolan, Charles Schneider, "Johnnie" Heffernan, Virgil Gordon and "Sud" Ralph. At that time the wagon shop of Henderson & Clark was situated where the H. C. Shaw Company's building now stands, and the men shown in the foreground wearing aprons are blacksmiths in that firm's employ.

THE "EUREKAS" 25 YEARS AGO .... Charles Thompson holds the ribbons over the fine grey team in the engine. Seated on the hose cart are Ferd. Lastretto and ex-Chief of Police William S. Fowler. Henry Eshbach and Frank Kendall, now Foreman of the "Hooks," are seen standing in the center of the picture, while "Billy" Cosby's head appears above the roof of the building. "Con" Collins, now driver of Engine Company 1, is standing in the doorway at the right. The others distinguishable are Joseph Zignego, Jacob Fritsch, Louis Gerlach, John D. Cole, "Jack" Mullen and John Sangster.

THE "WEBERS" 25 YEARS AGO ....John O. Laughlin, now of Engine Company 1, is seen seated on the cart. Henry Wolf and William Wollam are on the engine. From left to right the others seated are; Henry Nash, Charles Hamilton, Henry Eshbach, Joe Zignego and Frank Adams. Carl Oser can be seen in the foreground with his pet monkey astride of the large black dog. While the figure standing behind the chairs was familiar to many, the compiler has been unable to find anyone who could recall his name.

THE "HOOKS" IN 1883.... Councilman Brisco is seated on the truck. Philip Franck's head shows in the doorway. The others distinguishable are: John D. Gall, police officers Oscar Marshall and John Gayou, Sylvester Cahill,---McKenzie, James Ward, James Dempsey and Frank Kendall.

THE PAVILION AS IT APPEARED BEFORE THE FIRE OF SEPTEMBER 28, 1902 .... The building, one of the handsomest of its kind on the Coast, was erected in 1887. It occupied Washington Square bounded by Hunter, San Joaquin, Washington and Lafayette streets. The space it formerly occupied is now planted to trees and shrubbery, and is one of the most attractive of the city's many beautiful parks.

THE WEBER ENGINE AND HOSE COMPANIES.... The above was taken after the parade on July 4, 1876. "Johnnie" Williams, who was subsequently killed by being thrown from the hose carriage, stands second in the line on the left, all while Frank (Pope) Kingsley, who met a familiar fate in 1877, can be seen in the center of the picture. Among the others distinguishable are: Spence Condy,----McGuire, Charley Hamilton, "Shorty" Hall, Carl Hencman,---Van Vlear, George Kroh, Joe Harry, Thomas Thresher, Cy Eichelberger and Mayhew Robinson. Charles Ashley and Frank Hall occupied the drivers' seats on "Old Betsy" and the (then new) Amoskeag. The figure on the rear end of the former is Charles Arrivey. Henry Nash and "Bob" Don are standing at the firebox of the new machine. The celebration of the Fourth, Centennial year, was one long to be remembered by all who resided here at that time. The festivities lasted three days, during which time the city was thronged with visitors from the surrounding country. Cannons boomed, brass bands filled the air with music and patriotism ran riot. Barbecued oxen were served to the thousands of visitors who overflowed the hotels and compelled to sleep in the public squares. The late J. D. Peters officiated as Grand Marshall and the parade was the finest ever witnessed in the city.

THE "SAN JOAQUINS" 26 YEARS AGO.... The above picture of the San Joaquins was taken about twenty-six years ago. At that time the company processed a magnificent team of horses. M. McCann and Charles Finkbohner are seen seated on the "Babcock." The others distinguishable in the picture are: top row---Mae McCann, Diederich Rohde, Nan McCann, Fred Finkbohner, Conrad Thomas, Phil Kramm, ex-Chief of police Jerome Meyers, "Jimmy" Welch, George Finkbohner, Joe Kalck, Pat Breen. Lower row, seated: Andrew Ester, Dave Ray and daughter, Jacob Wagner, Pat Fee, Pat Leonard, Charles Sutherland and ------Chase.

THE LAUXEN & CATTS BUILDING Est. 1888.... Furniture, Carpets, Draperies, Upholstery And Similar Household Goods - Southeast corner Weber Avenue and San Joaquin streets, Stockton, Cal.

THE LATE THOMAS J. WALSH, AND SCENES DURING THE PROGRESS OF THE FIRE WHEREIN HE LOST HIS LIFE.... The top view shows the driver of the hose wagon in the act of spreading a line of hose. The view at the bottom was taken in a few seconds later and shows the hose on the ground. The small photo on the left was taken just as the Pavilion collapsed, which was within a few minutes after the first alarm was turned in. The Alberti block on the opposite side of the street was blazing, and smoke can be seen issuing from the window, all while the entire block to the south had been swept clean. The ruins, as they appeared the next morning, are shown in the view on the right. The fire scenes were reproduced herein through the courtesy of Ms. Alberti, Mrs. Hobin, Mrs. Sayles and Mr. P. H. Dentoni.

VIEW OF THE RUINS AFTER THE EXPLOSION OF GAS ON AUGUST 8, 1903.... The above photograph was taken by Mr. Dentoni the morning after the explosion. The fire caused the department one of the hardest fights in its history. In the picture a stream can be seen still playing on the building occupied by Lewis & Johnson. The losses on this occasion aggregated $100,000.

NEW METHOD LAUNDRY COMPANY.... 1235 East Lindsay Street, Stockton, Cal.

FAC-SIMILE OF STOCK CERTIFICATE OF THE EUREKA ASSOCIATION.... The certificate reproduced above was picked up in the ruins of the fire caused by the explosion of gas on August 8, 1903, thirty-two years after its issuance to Miss Baldwin (now Mrs. Haas). The old Jeffers engine, purchased with the money derived through the issuance of it and similar shares, aided in the extinguishing the flames.

VIEW OF THE FIRE OF AUGUST 11, 1907.... The above view was taken a few seconds after the department arrived on the seen. Having its origin in Brennan's stable, at the corner of Center and Washington streets, its spread rapidly to the cottages adjoining, and three of them were consumed before it was brought under control.

CLARK'S SANATORIUM.... THE SANATORIUM was established in the early '70' s by Dr. Asa Clark, the present medical superintendent, for the care and treatment of medical and nervous diseases, and of morphine and cocaine and alcohol habits, and has been a success since its inception. The institution is located in the southwestern portion of Stockton on a tract of land of 42 acres, with comfortable and commodious buildings, shade trees and lawns, over which refreshing sea breezes blow from the Golden Gate, cooling the summer temperature and making the place an ideal health resort. The principal buildings are surrounded by a modern farm, where dairy products and poultry are produced for use in the institution. The food supplies and cooking are of the best. The sanitary and home comfort arrangements are excellent, the corridors being well-lighted, airy and wide and the appointments convenient. Patients are given every care and comfort possible and private attendance are furnished, if necessary, at moderate cost. The sanatorium is fully equipped with all modern electric X-ray, and electric therapeutic appliances, handled under the efficient direction of an able superintendent. The chief aim of the Sanatorium, under Dr. Clark's personal direction, is to accomplish results and to bring together under the most favorable circumstances for the treatment of patients all the best and most successful methods and appliances recognized by modern medical science, and to use these in the most direct and thorough manner. Dr. Asa Clark, Medical Superintendent; Dr. Samuel W. R. Langdon, Assistant Physician; and James M. Anderson, Business Manager.

GROUP EX-CHIEFS THE VOLUNTEER DEPARTMENT.... 1) Thomas Cunningham, 1864-66; 1868-70. 2) John Nichols, 1871-75. 3) George H. Sanderson, 1860-64. 4) Louis J. Wagner, 1886-87. 5) Philip Rohrbacher, 1870-71. 6) John B. Buckley, 1879-81. 7) Pope Mountjoy, 1877-78. 8) Israel Rolf, 1881-82. 9) John B. Gall, 1885-86. 10) James Brown, 1875-77; 1887-88. 11) Henry Eshbach, 1878-79; 1883-85. 12) Ben F. Kohlberg, 1882-83. In addition to the gentleman whose photos appear above, the following-named held the office of Chief Engineer: J. E. Nuttman, 1850-53; E. W. Colts, 1854-56; A. S. Rider, elected August 12, 1856, resigned October 14, 1856; J. M. Van Syckle, 1856-57; John Remshart, 1857-59; John W. Hart, 1859-60; Frank Seilnacht, 1866-68. In 1863 R. B. Lane was chosen, but he declined the honor, and Mr. Sanderson continued to perform the duties of the office until October 11, 1864, when he resigned and Thomas Cunningham was elected. Mr. Nuttmann, the organization's first Chief, and was said to have been "every inch a fireman," moved to San Francisco in the autumn of 1853 and subsequently served as Chief of that cities volunteer department. After several years service there he returned to the home of his home, in New York, where he died at an advanced age.

THE EXEMPT FIRE COMPANY ON PARADE, JULY 4, 1898.... Reading from left to right the names of those in uniform are: John Sangster, Dan McDougald, James Ford, Charles Vinelli, Dan Ruble, Rudolph Gnekow, Jacob Simon, Joseph Adams, Joseph Kalck, Nick Vizelich, Nick Mitrovich, Frank McClellan, Michael Gough and his two sons, Eddie and Tom, John T. Doyle, Cyrus Eichelberger, "Jack" Douglass, William Wollam, Robert Hanks, Henry Wilson, A. Rolland, Joshua H. Webster, George Newell, Henry Culkin and M. McCann. The Company was organized November 8, 1895, with John T. Doyle, president; John McCann, recording secretary; N. Vizelich, James Ford and Henry Rohrbacher, directors. Its membership is confined exclusively to those having (or been entitled to receive) Exempt Firemen's Certificates. It is a social and benevolent association, having as its object the cultivation of social intercourse among its members and for benevolent purposes. The City Charter calls for the annual payment to the Company of the sum of $500, and as much more than the amount as the city officials may deem necessary. Thus the members are assured that should misfortune fail heavily upon them, they will be secured from want in their declining years and be provided with a suitable burial at last death o'ertakes them; a fitting testimonial from a city to the perpetuity of which they gratuitously devoted their services during the best years of their lives.

ST. JOSEPH'S HOME AND HOSPITAL, AND TRAINING SCHOOL FOR NURSES.... St. Joseph's Home is located on a beautiful site just outside of the City of Stockton, on the line of the electric railroad. It was founded for a two-fold object--first, to provide a home for old men in their declining years at as reasonable rates as possible; and, secondly, to supply a long-felt want in Stockton for furnishing the means and appliances for the care and cure of the sake. The Hospital, which is capable of accommodating fifty patients, is divided into five departments, viz: Men's Medical Department, Women's Medical Department, Men's Surgical Department, Women's Surgical Department and Maternity Department.



Transcriber Nancy Pratt Melton.

2002-2007  Nancy Pratt Melton.