The History of Independent Hose Company No. 1

In the early days of “firefighting” in Jersey Shore, fires were battled by volunteers using a hand-drawn pump mounted on a cart that was pulled to a fire scene. “Bucket brigades” were used to hand bucket water from the nearest water source to the tank on the pump to keep it filled up. This equipment was housed in a  two story building on the river bank at the foot of Smith St.

In 1884, the borough installed a water system and fire hydrants which was supplied by a steam driven pump, stationed on the bank of the Susquehanna River just south of town. Water was pumped to a reservoir south of the Jersey Shore Cemetery.

With the installation of the water system, the borough purchased a two-wheeled hose cart. This cart was housed in the same building as previous equipment at the foot of Smith St.

The cart was fully manned by volunteers, as at the time there was no organized fire company in existence.

In May of 1902, Jersey Shore experienced an extensive fire that destroyed a great deal property known as the “Dan Bower” fire. In this fire, everything was destroyed on both sides of of the present Market St. from Smith to Allegheny Streets.

This major fire brought up great need for an organized fire company. 

To the best of recollections, it was six young men who promoted such
a movement, namely: Joseph Feerrar, Robt. Shadle Sr., George Lewis, William Corson, Fred White, and George Messimer.

On the evening of Thursday, August 14, 1902, a meeting was held in the new borough building (built in 1901) for the purpose of effecting an organization.

Robt. Shadle, chairman of the meeting, was elected as the first chief. Other officers were elected as follows:

Wm. Corson, asst. chief; Dr. H. C. Fuller, foreman; James Blackwell, John Blackwell, and Wm. Harlan, trustees; A. L. Dingier, -secretary; and G. E. Smith, treasurer.

At a second meeting 16 enrolled members were present and a fine of ten cents was voted to be imposed on each fireman who, without sufficient
reason, failed to show up at fires.

At a third meeting, on August 26, the decision was made that J. Horace Shale, Esq., secure a charter from the Lycoming County Court, and that the new fire company be known as The Independent Hose Company No. 1, of Jersey Shore, Pa.

This charter became effective on October 2, 1902.

And the rest is history…

Independent Hose Company No. 1 celebrated 100 years in 2002….and its dedicated members continue to carry on the  tradition today.