History From America's Most Famous Valleys
Johnsville Bicentennial Celebration
Published by St. Johnsville Village/Town Bicentennial Committee, Inc.
The St. Johnsville Volunteer Fire Department
Large Graphic, be patient.
"The Flying Saints"
Kneeling, L-R: Robert Crouse, Sr.., First Asst. Chief; Gary Swartz, Fire Chief.
First Row, L-R: Alvin Van Slyke, Carlo Polidori, Fred Smith, James Failing, Secretary; James Keough, Richard Warn, Edward Swartz, Second Asst. Chief; Robert Corso, Patricia Yacobucci, Blaze Andrilla, Gerald Morrell, Albert Evans, Jr. Frank Kretser, Gerwood Dodson, Albert Evans, Sr., Robert Meyers, Bernard Brandow.
Second Row, L-R: Ronald Hayes, William Van Slyke, Frank Stagliano, Jacque Carter, Joseph Rider, Richard Shannon, John Hayes, Jr., Wilfred Kraft, Robert Linney, Daniel Weaver, Louis Capece, Jr., Russell Johnson, Brian Lucas, Roland Swartz, Jan Carter, Howard Cole, Anthony Carroll, Donald Hoffman, Gary Jubar.
Members not in picture: Donald Avery, Albert Castrucci, Frank Christiance, Treasurer; Gordon Davis, Walter Davis, Anthony Gabriel, Ferris Gabriel, John W. Hayes, Gary Johnson, Barry Kretser, John McGinnis, Gary Mosher, Dominick Peruzzi, Joseph Poliddori, Ronald Seeley, Robert Snell, Joseph Swank, Leonard Swartz, Leo Walrath, Harold Weaver, Lavern Weaver, Fred Wolcott.
A Century of Fire Protection
The St. Johnsville Vol. Fire Dept. was officially organized on April 25, 1878. It originally consisted of two companies, the Mohawk Chief Engine Co. No. 1 (with 60 members) and the Rescue Hose Col. No. 2 (with 22 members). In 1884, the Protection Hook and Ladder Col. No. 3 was organized with 35 members.
The first chief of the department was John McBride.
Early equipment of the department consisted of a hand engine, the "Mohawk Chief", two high-wheeled hose carts, a chemical deluge pump, and a hook and ladder cart. All of this equipment was hand drawn and the hook and ladder unit was built by Saltsman Brothers of St. Johnsville. Some of this original equipment is still retained by the department.
The first motorized equipment was purchased through public subscription in 1923. In 1933, a Packard automobile was donated to the department by the late Joseph Reaney and the men of the department raised money to have it converted to a fire truck by the Herkimer Body Works.
In 1939, the three original companies combined to form the present day St. Johnsville Vol. Fire Dept. The first chief of the newly merged department was Edward J. Miller.
Some of the worst fires in St. Johnsville's history have included: The Condensed Milk Factory, Upper No. Division St., 1888; Roth Englehardt factory, 1893; Whyland Opera House, 1914; Ward House Annex, 1914; William's Factory Fire, 1930; Palatine Dyeing Co. plant, No. Division St. 1944; the old High School building, at the present site of the Industrial Arts building, 1945; Failing Ford garage, Main St., 1970.
The department has been active all through the years. All of the equipment now in use was either partially, or in some cases, totally paid for by funds raised through the Annual Fireman's Fair, which has been held since 1951. The proceeds earned through the Fair have enabled the department to purchase modern fire fighting equipment, which may not have otherwise been possible for a village the size of ours, and also to financially assist numerous civic projects.
Following is a list of Chiefs that have served the people of St. Johnsville since 1908:
1908-09, Chris Fox; 1910, Elmer Snell; 1911, Adam Loucks; 1912-14, Seward Countryman; 1915-16, Frank Spring; 1917-18, Edward J. Miller; 1919-20, Arthur Conover; 1921-22, Floyd Crouse; 1923-24, Sylvester Yoran; 1925-26, Seward Countrymman; 1927-28, Lapier Kretser; 1929-30, Edward J. Miller; 1931-32, Hilbert Smith; 1933-34, Lapier Kretser and Clark Fical; 1935-36, Edward J. Miller; 1937, Clarence Saltsman; 1938, Lester Van Slyke; 1939, Clark Fical; 1940-46, Edward J. Miller; 1947-48, Donald Lalone; 1949-50, Alden Ruller; 1951-52, Fred Carter; 1953-54, Laverne Krestser; 1955, Arthur Galusha; 1956-57, Edward Swartz; 1958-59, William Van Slyke; 1960-61 John J. Bilobrowka; 1962, Donald Kretser; 1963-64, Edward Swartz; 1965, Gerwood Dodson; 1966-67, John J. Bilbrowka; 1968-69, Walter Davis, Jr.; 1970-71, Harold Weaver; 1972-73, Howard Cole; 1974-90, Gary Swartz; 1991-1992, John Burkhart; 1993-1996, James Carter; 1995-1997 Jeff Swartz; 1998-present James Carter.
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