Stockton Fire Department


 

The Bucket Brigades

Disclaimer! Informational page only, I do not sell, lease or manage Commercial Real Estate.

Men who are successful in the hazardous business of subduing fires are not, as a rule, particularly clerical or statistical, so only a few reliable records have been left of the early organization. Unauthenticated matter coming from the memories of some of the pioneers, carries the history of the Volunteers back to the spring of 1849 when most of the city was housed in tents. A small blaze originating in the cuisine of a linen hostelry at that time, while it was quickly subdued, resulted in creating a spasmodic appreciation of fire that was ever present and led to initial action for protection.

It was a primitive movement at best, being not even a tangible organization of a bucket brigade. Later a company was formed and called the "Weber Bucket Brigade." It was an informal organization, composed of a number of the leading business men. As the city grew similar brigades sprang up in the different sections as far as the exigencies of the situation demanded. All of them responded to a call and great rivalry existed between them. Fighting fire in the old bucket-brigade style was slow and tedious consisting simply in the formation of a line by citizens from the scene of the fire to the nearest water and the passing of buckets back and forth.

On December 23, 1849, a fire having its origin on the levee and fanned by a strong breeze from the west, soon laid the tent city to ashes. Merchandise to the value of $200,000 went up in smoke and the crude methods employed by the bucket brigades were proved to be of no avail.

The rivalry between the brigades was not always of the good-natured kind and on the day of the big fire many encounters bordering on riots occurred. It had its good effect, however, for through it was brought about a compact, cohesive formally organized fire company with attendant elimination of all ill-feeling and a greatly increased usefulness.

Initial Stations

On December 23, 1849 a fire destroys a large part of the tent settlement of Stockton.

On June 15, 1850: Mass town meeting is held to promote organizing a fire company.

On June 26, 1850: The Stockton Fire Department is formed. J.E. Nutmann is appointed Chief Engineer; C.M. Weber purchases engine for the company to use.

On January 29, 1851 the City Council buys the engine from Capt. Weber for $3,799.00. The engine is moved from Capt. Weber’s property to a wooden fire house erected on a bridge crossing the Stockton Channel between El Dorado Street and Hunter Street.

On May 6 1851 a second major fire in Stockton Damages the Engine & House.

In 1851 the City Council purchases a new Engine.

Hook & Ladder Company No. 1

In 1863 Webers move into 25 East Channel Street.

On January 2, 1919  Weber Engine 1 moves into 26 South Hunter Street with the Eurekas and Protection 1 26-28 South Hunter Street becomes the Main Station.
Click to Enlarge 25 East Channel street. The building was directed in 1863 for the use of the "Weber's" of the Volunteer Department. It was then joined on the west by the Corinthian Building, a three-story structure which, when it was erected in 1850, was the largest building in a State of California. It was owned by Weber & Hammond and in 1851 contained the post-office, the court-room (presided over by Justice of the Peace S. Dean) a church, a theater, a public assembly room where society gathered in the early days to "trip the light fantastic," the law offices of Terry & Perley and Van Buren & Root, and a number of private lodgings
Click to Enlarge 25 East Channel - The Webers - 1880s
Click to Enlarge 28 South Hunter - Hook & Ladder Company No. 1 - In the past fires have been infrequent where the use of the tall ladders of the truck were found necessary. The many high buildings that have been erected in the last few years, however together with those now projected may be at any moment in the scene the future of a blaze that could be attacked successfully only with the equipment shown.- Moved to 110 West Sonora in 1962

ENGINE COMPANY NO. 2

26 South Hunter -ENGINE COMPANY NO. 2 - The two handsome horses attached to the engine respond to the well-known names of "John D. Rockefeller" and "Senator Perkins," and the "oil king" might well feel proud if you were held in the same esteem by his fellowmen. They were trained to their duties by Mr. Salbach. On several occasions it has been necessary for him to leave them standing at a fire where sparks are raining thick upon them, but they only shook their manes and whinnowed. During the big pavilion fire Senator's side was badly blistered and he was out of commission for several days.- Later became Station Number 1. - Moved to 701 East Park in 1944, then to 1701 West Washington in 1954, then to 1818 South Fresno in 1994

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Click to Enlarge 509 East Weber - Chemical Company - Built in 1869 for the use of the San Joaquins of the volunteer department. Equipped an exceptional pair of speedy horses, this light piece of apparatus is enabled to arrive at a fire within a very few moments after the sounding of an alarm and it can be safely estimated that more than ninety percent of the fires are extinguished by the chemical. Should a fire have reached great headway before it's discovery, the use of a heavy steam or water is absolutely necessary, but whenever a blaze is found in it's incipiency, no matter combustible may be it's fuel, the chemical is soon master of the situation and without the heavy loss always accompanying the use of water/
Click to Enlarge Weber and California looking North. The tracks are streetcars tracks crossing Miner Slough. The Franklin House is at 501 E. Weber and the San Joaquins Chemical Company fire house is at 509 E Weber. The building in the background is the Grand Central Hotel with a 505 E Channel St. address. At the very left is William P. Miller Carriage Manufacturing at 115-121 N. California St. The entire northern portion of the block was demolished for the RTD.
Click to Enlarge The San Joaquins 1870s - 509 E Weber.
Click to Enlarge The San Joaquins - 1880 - 509 E Weber.

ENGINE HOUSE NO. 4

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19 North Pilgrim - ENGINE HOUSE NO. 4 - Stockton's new $20,000 fire station was completed and ready for occupancy on August 1st 1908. It was be one of the handsomest and most up-to-date engine houses on the Pacific Coast. It was the Chief's intention to station the La France engine in the new house which is located on Pilgrim between Main Street and Weber Avenue.

Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge It moved to the 23 E. Rose Street Firehouse which was built in 1915, between Center and El Dorado Streets. An Engine and crew were housed there for nearly 30 years (today a parking lot) .  Photos courtesy of Stockton Fire History

Click to Enlarge The Engine moved to 2630 Bonnie Lane in 1942. Right photo date, 2013

Click to Enlarge And then again moved to it's current location as Company 4 at 5525 Pacific Ave in 1967

Engine House Number 5

Former Engine House Number 5. 1127 South California - 2201 Lever Blvd and Eight Street - Moved to 3499 Manthy Road.

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Engine House Number 6

527 S. Aurora & Hazelton - Former Engine House Number 6 - Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge Holt Manufacturing Company was building caterpillar type tanks for the British Army Tank Corps in the first World War when they arranged a contract with the City of Stockton to build, house, and partial staff a fire company. The contract, initiated on July 27, 1917, specified Holt constructing the house, buying an American La France Auto Pumper, and leasing the items to the city.

Holt would also agree that their personnel would assist the Fire Department on any fire in their premises and that after three years of leasing, the city would then own the station and pumper.

In November of 1917, Holt placed a steel water tower at Lafayette and Aurora Streets and installed fire mains throughout their plant to provide improved built-in fire protection.

When other strategically located firehouses were put it place, motorized fire engines were put into service, and change of the area occurred, relocation of the house became necessary for the company to serve the community.

A census by the city recommended the firehouse be moved to West Stockton because of the westerly residential and business growth. After neighborhood politics, delay, and a final decision by the courts, Engine Company #6 was relocated to the Victory Park site at 1501 Picardy Lane. The House officially opened April 19, 1943. (Peterson Research, D.O.T.)   It was closed in June, 2014 because of asbestos contamination

Engine House Number 7

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Former Engine House Number 7 - 238 W. Main - Moved to Hammer Lane & Alexandria, then to 1767 West Hammer Lane

Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge 1989 Country Club - Former Tuxedo-Country Club Station 

Today's Stations

Click to Enlarge Station 1 - 1818 South Fresno Avenue - Moved from 1701 West Washington, 701 East Park, 26 South Hunter in 1994. In 1990, with the increasing growth of people moving to Stockton from the bay area and commuting to their jobs promoted construction of a 1200 acre subdivision known as Weston Ranch along Interstate 5. A residential and industrial study of that growth suggested the possibility of relocating Engine Company 5 (located the at Lever Boulevard and West Eighth Street) further south and relocating Engine Company 1 to a southern location within their enlarged district. On January 7, 1994 the new firehouse at 1818 South Fresno Avenue was completed and ready for occupancy. The design, and layout and Construction of Company 1’s on South Fresno Street, Company 5’s on Manthey Road and Company 14s are all identical.
Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge Station 2 - 110 West Sonora Street - Moved from Hunter Street in 1960 - The ‘Main Station’ was closed in 1960, after 106 years, at 26-28 Hunter Street and moved into a much larger quarters and training facilities to meet the needs of a growing city, modernization of firefighting equipment, and technical skills required of firefighters. The main station houses, classrooms, and communication system receiving ‘911’ call for the City of Stockton and other contracting cities and fire districts is located at 110 West Sonora Street between South Commerce Street and South Madison Street
Click to Enlarge Station 3 - 1116 East First Street - Moved from Union Street - Engine House No. 3 1908 This Romanesque revival building, designed by local architects Beasley and Beasley is the oldest firehouse in Stockton. Engine company No. 3 was stationed here from 1908 to 1956. A horse drawn American LaFrance steamer and a hose wagon were housed here until replaced in 1914 by a motor driven seagrave pump and white chemical and hose truck.
Click to Enlarge Station 4 - 5525 Pacific Avenue -Company 4 was relocated to 27 East Rose Street on November 27 1915. In the years after, the city grew north to the Calaveras River, the business district expanded (now known as Miracle Mile), and the city supported a growing College of the Pacific (now University of the Pacific). A new house was built at 2630 Bonnie Lane and became new Company 4 in March of 1942. The city continued to grow north over the next two decades and the house was relocated again. Because of an expanding shopping mall on northern Pacific Avenue, and the relocation of Stockton College (now Delta College) from Mendocino Street and Kensington Way to across the street from the newer mall area; the city needed to provide additional ladder company services and built the new location as a double house. The new fire house was occupied on December 1, 1967 by Engine and Truck 4 at a location on Burke Drive just south of Robinhood Drive (now known as 5525 Pacific Avenue). This house was dedicated on May 11, 1968.
Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge Station 5 - 3499 Manthy Road - Moved from 1127 South California to 2201 Lever Blvd and Eight Street to 3499 Manthy Rd. With the relocation of Engine Company #1 to the site on South Fresno Avenue and the development of businesses and residences known as ‘Grupe Business Park’ and also the 1200 to 1500 acre ‘Weston Ranch’ on both side of Interstate 5, Engine Company #5 was relocated to a more modern firehouse at 3499 Manthey Road on January 6, 1994. The design, and layout and Construction of Company 1’s on South Fresno Street, Company 5’s on Manthey Road and Company 14s are all identical.
Click to Enlarge Station 6 - 1501 Picardy Drive - Moved from Aurora Street - When other strategically located firehouses were put it place, motorized fire engines were put into service, and change of the area occurred, relocation of the house became necessary for the company to serve the community. A census by the city recommended the firehouse be moved to West Stockton because of the westerly residential and business growth. After neighborhood politics, delay, and a final decision by the courts, Engine Company #6 was relocated to the Victory Park site at 1501 Picardy Lane. The House officially opened April 19, 1943. Closed in June of 2014.
Click to Enlarge Station 7 - 1767 West Hammer Lane - Moved from 238 West Weber - In July 1974. Company 7’s moved to Amherst and Alexandria and later moved to 1767 Hammer Lane  and responded into the ‘Lincoln Fire Protection’ District that contracted with the city on January 1, 1976. This contract added 15.4 square miles to the city total of 55.6 square miles of fire protection. The total area in now 71 square miles
Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge Station 8 - 2062 East Sonora - Closed April 11, 1988 - This fire station at 2062 E. Sonora at Laurel Street was opened in 1924. Company 8 was the first station located east of Wilson Way and serviced the areas known as ‘Fair Oaks’ and ‘Goat Valley.’ The homes in ‘Goat Valley’ were constructed with bare necessities and many even had dirt floors and no foundations. During the years of the Great Depression, the children of the area attended the Fair Oaks and Roosevelt schools and grew to be the working class of Stockton’s population. Most of Goat Valley, from Filbert Street to Highway 99 and from East Main Street to Western Pacific Railroad, was leveled and rebuilt anew in the 1940’s and the Fair Oaks area bought by the State of California to make way for the Cross Town Freeway. The removal of these homes and businesses in conjunction with a contract established with the Eastside Fire District, now Station 12 caused the firehouse to be unnecessary at this location, and it was closed after 64 years of service on April 11, 1988
Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge540 E. Harding Way - City Fire Department - Engine Company No. 9 
Click to Enlarge Station 10 - 2903 West March Lane
Click to Enlarge Station 11 - 1211 East Swain Road
Click to Enlarge Station 12 - 4010 East Main Street
Click to Enlarge Station 13 -8891 Bergamo Circle - Opened March 29, 2005
Click to Enlarge Station 14 -3019 McNabb Street - Located to provide coverage of one of the fastest growing residential areas in Stockton. This site also provided a more rapid response into an area of the former Lincoln Fire Protection District which contracted for the City of Stockton’s services on January 1, 1976. Future growth west of Interstate 5 and Eight Mile Road may also be covered from this location until that growth necessitates an additional fire station. The design, and layout and Construction of Company 1’s on South Fresno Street, Company 5’s on Manthey Road and Company 14s are all identical.

Books

Stockton Fire Engines Through the Years And the fire service in San Joaquin County - Horace Spencer