History of Gloversville, NY (Part 5)
From: History of Fulton County
Revised and Edited by: Washington Frothingham
Published by: D. Mason & Co. Syracuse, NY 1892

By Rev. Isaac O. Rankin, of Peekskill, former pastor of the Kingsboro Presbyterian Church.

Note: This is still being worked on and will be about 8-12 large pages when completed. The first two pages are mostely prior to the incorporation of villages in 1847. Part 3 and following pages will be for the most part after that date.

Fire Department- Board of Trade - Gas - Electric Lighting

Gloversville Fire Department - When the disastrous fire of 1877 visited the block of wooden buildings located on Main street between Church and Middle, Gloversville was in great need of protection against such conflagrations. Without suitable water works (as the steps for the present supply were then only partially under way) and with nothing more than a few buckets in the hands of such citizens as might volunteer their aid, any building which might become thoroughly ignited, was almost sure to burn to the ground. The great fire above mentioned awoke the people to a sense of their danger, and within a remarkably short space of time, the village possessed a duly incorporated hose company, as well as a hook and ladder brigade.

The present Neptune Hose Company was organized April 21, 1877, under the name of "The A. J. Kasson Hose Company," and included the following persons among its charter members: J. K. Belding, E. S. Botsford, W. H. Browne, C. W. Brockway, W. F. Cole, H. G. Dewey, B. J. Dye, M. D. Kasson, W. E. Lansing, Seymour Lebenheim, A. B. Peake, M. F. Button, and M. L. Shaffer. Meetings were held in a room fitted for the purpose in A. J. Kasson's barn at the rear of the present Memorial Hall. The only apparatus was a chemical engine worked by hand pumps. Later on a small amount of hose was purchased and this was carried upon the shoulders of the members when called out for duty. Soon afterward two hose carts were purchased by the village trustees and placed in the care of the hose company and considerable new hose was also added to their equipment.

The first fire after the organization occurred December 5, 1878, and destroyed Gorton's block, at the corner of Main and Washington streets. The next large fire to which the company was called into service was the burning of the Johnson block, on Bleecker street, March 25, 1883.

The name of the company was unanimously changed from A. J. Kasson Hose Company, to The Neptune Hose Company, July 12, 1882, during the foremanship of C. W. Brockway. Shortly after this the headquarters were moved to rooms in the Collins block, on Main street. On February 13. 1884, the headquarters were removed to the Miller block, where they remained until the completion of the Corporation building, in which three large rooms were fitted up for their exclusive use. They moved into these elegant apartments in 1887. The company has thirty one members at present and the following officers: Foreman, Charles H. Krause; first assistant, Frank Pryne; second assistant, Herbert L. Montanye; treasurer, Frank J. Titcomb; secretary, E. A. James; surgeon, Dr. J. S. Phillips.

Without going into additional detail it is sufficient to say that the department has always displayed a willingness to serve to the best of its ability, and deserves great credit for its promptness in responding to every alarm. It may also be said that The Neptune Hose Company has been very successful in winning prizes at running contests in various parts of the state. The most conspicuous of these was the prize of $250, won at the state firemen's convention at Herkimer, August 21, 1891. The distance was goo feet, make and break, and the running time of the Neptune team was 44 2/5 second, beating the next best company by one fifth of a second.

Mechanics' Hook and Ladder Company of Gloversville. Although this organization is no longer connected with the city fire department, it was for many years composed of the most active fire fighters in the village, and has always done gallant service. The company was organized May 16, 1877, with the following officers: Foreman, L. M. Bolles; first assistant, Wesley Lyons; second assistant, C. P. Bushman; secretary, A. B. Pearce; treasurer, Walter Burling. Among the charter members were Silas P. Back, John Aucock, Samuel Bellen, Andrew Burns, Ed. Collins, James Delamater, P. V. Dwyer, James A. Furbeck, James R. Haggart, Abram Hanson, James H. Johnson, W. C. Lounsberry, Gustav Levor, Thomas McDermott, Frank Peek, Charles Mead, Charles Porter, Charles Phelps, Charles Sunderlin, Henry Jenkins, C. Hull, W. Allen, A. 13. Bellis, E. R. Van Valkenburgh, Gilbert Van Valkenburgli, John Mickel, Charles McCoy, Isaac Graff, C. R. Golder, M. J. Orrup, Isaac Shonebergh, E. P. Shove, and possibly a few others.

The meetings, for several years, were held in the old truck house at the rear of Kasson's Memorial Hall, the rooms being occupied jointly by the hook and ladder and hose companies. The company afterwards had its headquarters in different buildings on Main street, but moved into the Corporation building some time after its completion. During the latter part of 1891 a difficulty arose between the members of the company and the city authorities regarding certain changes in the manner of selecting a chief for the fire department, and also concerning the maintenance of a team of horses to draw the truck to the place of service and return. These differences resulted in the resignation of the Hook and Ladder Company as members of the fire department, on November 16, 1891. The company at once assumed the title of The Mechanics' Club and Drill Corps, under which they had been incorporated in July, 1890, and moved their furniture and other club property to their present commodious and handsomely fitted rooms on the second floor of the Helwig block, No. 22 North Main str eet. The organization has since been conducted under the above name and maintains a social club and efficient drill corps.

The successive foremen of the old Hook and Ladder company from its organization down to November 16, 1891, with the dates of their election are as follows; L. M. Bolles, May 16, 1877; Thomas McDermott, February 1, 1879; A. B. Pearce, June 4, 1879; H. J. Jenkins, June 1, 1880; Charles S. Phelps, August 13, 1880; Charles Mead, May 3, 1881; Charles S. Phelps, May 2, 1882; John W. Mickel, April 1, 1884; Philip Hiegel, May 5, 1885; Elisha S. King, May 4, 1886. There at present fifty five or sixty members of the club and twenty seven members of the drill corps, E. S King being president of both. The club secretary is George 14. Amenta, and the treasurer, Thomas Howland. The corps secretary is Herbert Steiner.

The Glove City Hook and Ladder Company was organized December 7, 1891, with the following charter members: Charles Fox, foreman; Will Safford, first assistant foreman; A. C. Slocum, second assistant foreman; George H. Junod, secretary; Fred Taylor, assistant secretary; Frank Bossler, treasurer; F. E. Freeman, W. H. Downing, J. M. Fort, Abram Nellis, Frank Hurdman, Frank Bush, William Loft, George Faucher, Peter Ryan, Frank Kelly, Eugene Van Rensler, Albert Mills, Philip Fairchild and Charles Hillery. The company occupies convenient rooms in the corporation building fitted for the purpose. The present officers are: Foreman, Charles Fox; first assistant foreman, Charles Hillery; second assistant foreman, George Fancher; secretary, Lester Hoag; assistant secretary, George H. Junod; treasurer, J. M. Fort.

The Gloversville Fire Department came into existence December 28, 1877, on which day a meeting of the board of village trustees was held and confirmed the following officers; Chief engineer, John W. Peek; first assistant engineer, A. W. Locklin; second assistant engineer, John S. King, all of whom had been previously selected at a meeting of the board of directors. John D. Knight was made secretary and John S. King treasurer of the board.

The positions of chief, and also of first and second engineers, was held by the above named persons until May 5, 1879, at which time A. W. Locklin was elected chief, J. J. Hanson first, and John Fulton, second assistants. At the next annual meeting, held May 3, 188o, the following were elected: Chief, John Fulton; first assistant, A. B. Pearce; second assistant, M. F. Button. The officers elected May 3, 1881, were: Chief, John Fulton; first assistant, M. F. Button; second assistant, James A. Furbeck. No change was made in the above named officers in 1882. On May 7, 1883, M. F. Button, C. R. Golder and M. L. Shaffer were elected chief, first and second assistants. May 5, 1884, Charles S. Phelps was elected chief; C. W. Brockway, first. and F. H. Wilmarth, second assistants.

The officers for the year 1885-86 were: Chief, Charles S. Phelps; first assistant, C. W. Brockway; second assistants, Fred B. Van Natter and E. C. Boyle; 1886-87, chief, E. C. Boyle; first assistant, William Carson; second assistant, Philip Hiegel; 1887-88, chief, Frank Carson; first assistant, F. Wurtzenburger; second assistant, S. P. Back; 1888-89, chief, C. W. Brockway; first assistant, S. P. Back; second assistant, John E. Dye; 1889-90, chief, E. C. Boyle; first assistant, S. P. Back; second assistant, John E. Dye; 1890-91, chief, E. C. Boyle; first assistant, S. P. Back; second assistant, John E. Dye; 189192, chief, E. C. Boyle; first assistant, Archibald Wemple; second assistant, William Marriot. The present officers were elected in May, 1892, and are as follows: Chief, George L. Fort; first assistant, Archibald Wemple; second assistant, William Marriot; secretary and treasurer, William Marriot. Until within the last year the office of chief, as well as all other positions in the department, have been without salary and the duties have been performed voluntarily. With a view of making the department more efficient if possible, the common council have made the position of chief a salaried office and he is required to be present at the city building during specified hours.

The Board of Trade of Gloversville held its first annual meeting at Memorial hall, Monday evening, February 17, 1890. It was organized with the following officers and managers, which remain unchanged at the present time: President, Clayton M. Parke; vice-president, James S. Hosmer; second vice president, Zenas B. Whitney; secretary, William C. Mills; treasurer, Charles W. Stewart. Managers, Daniel B. Judson, George C. Burr, Philo R. Smith, Hervey Ross, Eugene Harrington, W. E. Leaning, Samuel H. Shotwell, Curtis S. Cummings, Seymour Sexton, James W. Green, Daniel F. Cowles, George M. Place. The chief object of the association is to promote the prosperity of the city by offering inducements to manufacturing and industrial companies and business men to locate in Gloversville; and also to advance and improve the labor interests in every legitimate manner. The board has standing committees on manufacture and promotion of trade, on railroads and transportation, on taxation and insurance, laws and legislation, statistics and publication, and other important subjects. In 1890 it published a comprehensive pamphlet, giving a description of the condition of Gloversville as a healthy financial, social and commercial centre.

Introduction of Gas. - During the years 1856 and 1857, Samuel Stewart Mills built and conducted what is now known as the Windsor Hotel, located at the corner of East Fulton and Main streets. Mr. Mills determined to light the hotel with gas and established a small resin gas works, under what is now used as a kitchen, and erected a 4,000-foot gas holder where the barns are at present located. The idea was not only to light the hotel, but to furnish gas to some of the churches and private houses, and accordingly a pipe was laid on Main street, another on West Fulton and one on Bleecker street, connecting the houses of those along the route who desired gas. In 1859 the Mills brothers (Samuel and Darius), had become interested in several business undertakings, and the gas plant was sold to Fox & Demarest, livery men, for $5,000. The latter firm secured a lot where the gas works are now located and put up two storage holders, of 4,000 and of 10,000 feet capacity, and also, in addition to the resin process, added a patented invention for gas manufacture. The civil war stopped the supply of resin (which came from the south), and since then coal has been used exclusively. When gas was first made in Gloversville, it cost the consumer $10 per thousand feet. Fox & Demarest put in five miles of pipe during their ownership of the plant, at a cost of about $40,000. In 1870 Mr. Fox died and the junior partner hired his interest for three years, purchasing it at the end of that time. In 1887 a man named Elkins came to Gloversville from Philadelphia and secured a franchise from the board of trustees for the purpose of laying pipes, and the organization of another gas company. He also went to Johnstown and took options on the purchase of the Johnstown Gas Company, and sold them to the United Gas and Improvement Company of Philadelphia. The latter company then established itself in Gloversville and began competition with Mr. Demarest, laying pipes and furnishing gas. In August, 1888, Mr. Dearest rented the Gloversville plant to this company for a long term of years at an annual rental of $2,000, giving them the use of all the mains and pipes and also a storage tank, the latter being used to equalize the pressure of gas throughout the city. The company is now known as the Johnstown and Gloversville Gas Company, having been reorganized in 1886. The works are located just north of the old cemetery on Market street, Johnstown, and the company supplies both places with gas, maintaining one office at the works and another on North Main street in Gloversville.

Electric Lighting. The Gloversville Electric Company was incorporated with a capital stock of $100,000, and began business January 1, 1890. The officers of the company are as follows: President, James Radford, Gloversville; vice-president, John Marsh, Cooperstown; secretary, Edgar A. Spencer, Gloversville; treasurer, Lee B. Cruttenden, Cooperstown; directors, the officers, with Paul T. Brady, Syracuse; Henry L. Henman, Cooperstown; John Marsh, Cooperstown; H. J. Brady, Cooperstown; Walter H. Bunn, Cooperstown. John Begley, is electrician and superintendent of the plant. About one-third of the company's stock is owned by residents of Gloversville. A two years contract for lighting the streets of the city, acted as an inducement for the formation of this company and work was begun on the plant December 1, 1889. The motor circuit was in operation January 1, 1890, and the street lamps were turned on a month later. At the expiration of the first contract, which was for 12 o'clock lighting, the company secured a new one, which requires all night lighting, and continues for five years from January 1, 1892. The plant, consisting of a brick boiler, engine and dynamo house, is situated in the northern part of the city and contains two condensing engines of 300 horse power; four arc dynamos, with a combined capacity of 200 lights; two incandescent dynamos with a capacity of 1,300 lights and two boilers of 250 horse power. The company have twenty seven miles of arc street circuit; four miles of commercial arc circuit; nine miles of motor circuit and nine miles of incandescent circuit. They are at present furnishing the city with eighty five street lights and it is their intention to increase this number to too. They are also furnishing forty large motors, which give power to a multitude of industries throughout the city, including two printing presses, 500 sewing machines, cooling fans, elevators, and many other kinds of machinery. The company's office is located at 8 West Fulton street.

Gloversville History

Part 1 - Early History.

Part 2 - Early Hisotry Continued.

Part 3 - Incorporation as a City - Schools.

Part 4 - Libraries. - Gloversville Water Works. - Opera House.

Part 5 - Fire Department- Board of Trade - Gas - Electric Lighting

Part 6 - Churches 1

Part 7 - Churches 2

Part 8 - YMCA, Secret Societies, Newspapers

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