History of The Friendship Fire Company
This information is donated by Dwayne T. Gartner of the Friendship Fire Company
Friendship Fire Company had for it's foundation "The Woodbury Fire Association" established on April 13, 1799, which numbered among its membership the leading citizens of Woodbury. The members of this organization paid their own expenses by assessment and bought their equipment as well as the old hand engine now in possession of the Friendship Fire Company. (stored inside our museum 29 Delaware Street, open to the public free of charge) The Engine was built by Philip Mason, and the engine was delivered and housed July 1799. The Original name was the "Woodbury Fire Company" in 1799. In 1828 the fire company was incorporated to become the "Woodbury Fire Association" from which Friendship Fire Company was formed two years later. Each member was required to provide himself or herself with two buckets and a stout linen bag to be used in carrying goods from burning buildings.
A Firehouse was built and it is believed the location was fifty yards south of Cooper Street, on the east side of Broad Street, presently about 14 S. Broad Street, which was a small building just about large enough to hold the engine and a few other articles. Hose was not in use at this time and the engine was supplied with water from the wells of the village by means of leather buckets which were passed along the line of men and women stationed there for that purpose.
Interest in the company waned and on June 5th, 1830 is was re-organized as Friendship Fire Company and in 1840 a Constitution and By-Laws were adopted. The first meeting and the organization of the Friendship Fire Company held at the House of Samuel Wilkens on June 5, 1830 were taken from the records and reads as follows:
Joseph Franklin was chosen President and R.B. Glover appointed secretary on motion
The company then proceed to an election of officers, the following person were elected, Joseph Franklin President, Chalkley Glover Vice-President, Josiah T. Franklin Secretary and Treasurer
Resolved, that any one member shall or may hold two offices
Resolved that there shall be six engineers, the following were elected: Able Knight, Josiah T. Franklin, Joshua Matlock, R.B. Glover, Samuel Wilkis, Chalkley Glover
Resolved that the ladder committee shall consist of three person. the following members were elected: Samuel Kemble, Jos. Sailer, Joseph Ballinger
Resolved that the bucket committee shall consist of four persons, the following members were elected: Jos Garwood, Thomas Clayton, John B. Harrison, Thomas T. Blackwood
Resolved that a committee of three be appointed to draft a Constitution and by-laws: John B. Harrison, Joseph Sailer, R.B. Glover were appointed
Adjourned until Saturday the 12th
In 1846 a new fire house was built by the company on the north side of Cooper Street, east of Broad Street
The next important event in the life of the company was the purchase of a hand-drawn, hand pumped suction type of engine, and with this came the first use of fire hose in the city. The engine together with 200 feet of leather hose was purchased from the Franklin Hose Company of Philadelphia at the cost of $700.00 and was placed in service in 1862. On the same trip to Philadelphia the Board of Wardens purchased from Good Intent Hose Company a hose carriage at the cost of $50.00.
Due to the growth of the section known as North Woodbury during this period and the length of travel necessary to respond to alarms of fire, some of the citizens of North Woodbury requested at the annual meeting of the association held January 7th, 1867 that the association locate one of the engines in North Woodbury. The association could not act on this request as all equipment belonging to said association was turned over to Friendship Fire Company in 1830 for their control and care. At the next stated meeting a vote was taken which resulted in favor of the old or small engine and one of the hose carriages and a proportionate amount of hose be located in North Woodbury.
Friendship Fire Company was incorporated in 1883 when a membership of 30 was recorded
Following the establishment of a city water supply system, Council, on February 24, 1886 adopted the ordinance "establishing, controlling and regulating the fire department in the City of Woodbury" At the time the hydrant pressure was deemed sufficient for fire service and the engine was sold for $200.00. it was finally shipped to Cuba where it was stored in a warehouse pending the completion of a fire house. The warehouse was destroyed by fire and the engine with it.
During this period the fire hose was kept reeled on a two-wheeled cart and drawn to fires by hand by the firemen or anyone else who would assist in this duty. Later a horse drawn wagon was purchased to carry more hose and to make more time but frequently the hand-drawn hose wagon was the first to arrive at the fire. In 1849 a horse-drawn ladder truck was purchased by the city and housed at Friendship Fire Company.
The firehouse on Cooper Street was found to be to small and the street to narrow to safety accommodate the ladder truck, therefore, the company proposed to Council that in exchange for their gift of their land and house to the city, the city should build them a modern building on city property on Delaware Street. This building, completed in 1898, is still in use by the City, which houses the Woodbury Fire Department and the Friendship Fire Company.
About 1908 when the motorized fire engine first came into use. need for more modern equipment was felt. No steps were taken however, until the destruction of the high school by fire in 1911 when the horse-drawn steamer was purchased. (Can be seen in the Museum, 29 Delaware Street, open to the public free of charge) After a second serious fire in the high school in 1915, the city purchased in 1916, two motor fire engines of pumper type. Once was located at the Friendship Fire House and the other at Goodwill Fire House. Replacement was inevitable, at which time the city secured two 750 gallons-per-minute Mack pumpers which went into service January 7, 1941 and were used by the Woodbury Fire Department until the early 1960's. These were replaced by 750 g.p.m Seagraves pumper and a 1000 g.p.m. Mack pumper, which one is still used today for various events such as funerals and Santa around town.
In 1925 the city secured it's first motorized ladder truck of the city service type which was used by Friendship Fire Company until July 1948. when it was necessary to replace this unit with a 75ft foot American Lafrance Quad. Aerial truck. This in service until June 28, 1968, when a 100 foot Seagrave Aerial Ladder was purchased. In August 1975 deliver was taken on a 85 Foot LTI Ladder Tower on, which was sold to a Department in Tennessee during the year 2004.
In 1940 the growing need for free ambulance service in the community became apparent. After a careful study of this problem, Friendship Fire Company made a canvas fund for this use. The first ambulance was placed in service by the company in June 1941, and offered to the community free ambulance service for the first time. Ambulance service was discontinued December 28, 1972. Ambulance and equipment was donated to the Woodbury Ambulance Corps when formed. which later became Woodbury TLC, who then was taken over by Gloucester County EMS.
An ordinance was passed June 14, 1949, creating the Woodbury Fire Department, under the direction of the Chief and Deputy Chief.
The Friendship Fire Company #1 museum is located at 29 Delaware Street Woodbury New Jersey 08096. The museum is open to the public, there are no set hours and it is free of charge. Inside you can find the 1911 Ahrens Fox Horse Drawn steamer which occasionally appears in parades, 1799 Philip Mason Hand pumper, equipment from our 1916 Ahrens Fox motorized truck which is stored at our sister firehouse, Misc. tools and equipment including bunker gear and helmets, pictures of our past chiefs and current chief, membership list from the beginning of time and plenty more history then mentioned above.
If you have any questions about the firehouse or museum please visit the gallery page on the website or call the firehouse to speak to a member (856) 845 0066