Marietta Pioneer Fire Company No. 1

Good Times In Days Past Written by Harold (Brosie) Kulman


On a warm sunny day, I usually enjoy sitting out on the bench in front of my house on East Market Street. My house is directly across the street from the Borough Hall. As I sit there today, my mind wanders back to a time when this building had a fire truck in it.

As I understand it, a long time ago, before my time, the Marietta Pioneer Fire Company was comprised of many local store owners and business people who wanted to protect their properties and businesses. It was formed in 1840 and located in the Borough Hall. When I joined the Fire Company at age eighteen, the Fire Company was still located just a few feet west of our council chamber. The entrance was distinguished by two large garage doors. Every item the Fire Company owned was in this small space.

Every day, and especially on weekends, our local firefighters (including me) lined themselves up in front of the open garage door on their folding chairs, waiting for the fire siren to blow and set them in to action. The fire siren blew as loud and as long as it does today, but it was not activated by a 911 call in those days. Instead, a call was made to the home of the elderly lady who lived across the street from the fire station at 110 East Market Street, next to my present home. This lady, in turn, was the person who blew the siren. I thought, at the time, that she never left her house, but my later understanding was that others did take over for her on occasion. When she could no longer perform this responsibility, a new location was established.

In past times, the alarm lady could be found on Chestnut Street and later at the corner of Market and Bank. In the past, you could call any fire company if you had a fire, but who would do that? I know of one instance when this happened. I was sitting in front of the fire house with my fellow fire fighters on our folding chairs, waiting for a call. We looked east, down Market Street toward Route 441, where we saw a truck with red flashing lights and a blaring siren. As it passed the fire house, the truck was identified as a Columbia fire truck and their fire fighters waved to us. We learned quickly that it was on its way to a small fire on Walnut Street. Obviously, someone did not like our service or was a Columbia resident who owned property in Marietta and called his local fire company!

When I think of past firemen, I think of Axe and Hatchet, two brothers who lived in my house in the early 1950s, across the street from the fire station. They were always ready to go when the siren blew, day or night. I am not sure which one was known for being quick to chop doors down, but they both had that reputation. Opening a door or chopping it down, if necessary, was OK as long as you had a fire hose filled with water and were ready to fight a fire.

Today, it is quite a different story. We have a technologyoriented fire company with a medical QRS (Quick Response Service) Unit that is well trained and ready to serve us at any time. They are very busy and responsive to our needs. Consequently, they need your financial support to ensure their service. So please help them out in whatever way you can. In fact, you might think about becoming a fireman yourself.