1920's-1950's | 1960's-1980's | 1990's-2000's | 2010 -present
The History of Beechwood Fire Department
In 1905, Beechwood, Wisconsin had a population of 125. There were two churches, a school, a doctor’s office, two general stores, two blacksmith shops, a wagon shop, a creamery and cheese factory, two halls, a saloon, a dozen homes and miscellaneous storage buildings. It had no fire protection.
Eight years later, the Kewaskum Statesman for June 3rd, 1913 reported:
The dwelling of Fred Hintz was completely destroyed by fire early Thursday morning. The cause of the fire is unknown. The fire was first noticed by Mr. Hintz, having started in the woodshed in the rear of the house. Nothing could be done to save the building, as the flames had gained too much headway. Through the work of the entire family and neighbors, most all of the household goods were saved. The damage done is very heavy, which is somewhat covered by insurance.
After that disastrous fire, Jacob Horning and Arthur Koch solicited the community for funds to organize a fire department. By June 14th, they had contacted 105 donors and collected $790. That money was used to buy a horse-drawn, hand-operated water pumper. The pumper was used for many years and eventually only in department water fights. In 1982, the hand pumper was professionally restored by Joe’s Auto Body of Kiel, WI at a cost of $1350, and currently is put on displays at parades and antique fire apparatus shows.
A news account of January 17th, 1914 tells that several members of the fire department hauled stones for the foundation of their firehouse, which they intended to build next spring. The building was to be 18’ X 30.’ On Saturday, June 6th, 1914, Goll Brothers mason contractors put up the foundation for the firehouse. Eric Guenther assisted Sam Goll, Sr. in the project. Logs were donated and sawed into lumber. All the labor was donated. The building was on a parcel of land in Section 17 measuring 495’ X 52.5,’ owned by Alma Koch Sauter. The department purchased the land in 1939 (Vol 244 p 83-84, Register of Deeds records.)
The first dance sponsored by the department to raise funds was held July 11th, 1914 in Koch’s Hall. The dance provided $140. Baseball games between fire department teams were held on Sunday afternoons. Sale of refreshments benefited the home team.
The first department picnic was held on August 13th, 1915. It produced $339.43 for the treasury. Several more picnics and dances were held. By 1921, the department was able to buy a 1917 Jeffrey motorcar that they rebuilt into a fire truck. No photograph of it has been found, but one resident remembers that the vehicle had no roof or doors, and possibly not even a windshield. The Jeffrey Motor Car Company was founded in Kenosha, WI in 1901. Early models if the light, cheap twin cylinder front mounted engine earned a good reputation under the name “Rambler.” In 1914, the name of the car was changed to Jeffrey until 1917 when the company was taken over by Nash, and the Name was dropped.