Ann Arbor water company


Ann Arbor water company

The city dug wells and large cisterns at Main intersections to provide water for fire fighting. By 1886 the demand for a more dependable supply was met with 100 hydrants installed by the new Ann Arbor water company. From a station Northwest of town, water was pumped from the nearby Huron river up to the Sunset road reservoir. Pipes carried water from there down into town. In 1914 the city purchased the company.

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Barney, Duke, and Jim


Barney, Duke, and Jim

The last three horses, Barney, Duke, and Jim, were retired
to a farm when the department switched to motorized trucks in 1915.

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Firefighter wagons


Firefighter wagons

When the alarm sounded, horses released from their stable behind the firehouse knew their assigned wagons. Harnesses suspended above were dropped down and fastened.

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Firefighters at Firemen's Hall, East Huron Street, 1906


Firefighters at Firemen's Hall, East Huron Street, 1906

Fred Sipley (right of the horses) was the police marshal before he became the first full-time fire chief in 1889. His successor as chief, Charles Edwards, stands left of the horses in this 1906 photograph. Fires from oil lamps and wood-burning stoves were a constant worry in early Ann Arbor. At the cry of "Fire!" everyone came running with family water pails. By 1838 the village had two volunteer fire companies, two small engine houses, and a hand-operated fire pump.

More companies formed, with names like Eagle, Defiance, Mayflower, and Relief. Volunteers trained, cleaned equipment, and organized social activities at their engine houses. Fiercely proud of their uniforms and equipment, they delighted in parading through town. When Firemen's Hall was built in 1882, it had a large meeting room upstairs. With the gradual change to a full-time paid department, the room was converted to a dormitory.

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IMG_8235


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IMG_8236


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IMG_8228
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Firemen's Hall, 1860


Firemen's Hall, 1860

In 1882 this brick firemen's hall replaced an 1860 wooden building. Each building had a tower with a bell to summon volunteers and an upstairs hall for meetings of city council and other public groups.

Frame location: On City Hall lawn, northeast corner of Fifth and Huron, inside sidewalk crossing and south of large spruce tree, facing southwest

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Firemen show off their first motorized trucks in 1915


Firemen show off their first motorized trucks in 1915

Ann Arbor firemen show off their first motorized trucks in 1915. In 1882, after renting horses for several years, the city purchased its own horses to haul fire equipment that had become too heavy for volunteers to pull.

Frame location: On City Hall lawn, northeast corner of Fifth and Huron, inside sidewalk crossing and south of large spruce tree, facing southwest

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