History is a record of man in conflict
with circumstance. Man never seems to be satisfied with a void
or mediocrity because someone will observe, criticize and insist
that the void be filled and that mediocrity be replaced.
That's how it was in Jacksonville. When the need
of better service for controlling fires appeared, men started
to do something about it. One particular group, namely Gene Steward,
Shelben Thompson, Harry Lindsay, Jack Askew and Charlie Dumphy,
got together a Community Meeting in Chestnut Grove Church in
the early Spring of 1953 and discussed the vital need of a local
Volunteer Fire Company. The meeting was well attended. It elected
an acting Chairman and established a date for a second meeting.
A membership drive for a Jacksonville Volunteer Fire Company
was started. Officers were elected and this organization was
incorporated in the Spring of 1953.
In the meantime, a committee was appointed to look
for a used piece of fire equipment. After a thorough search in
the Civil Defense and Baltimore City Fire Department, it was
decided to buy the old AMC LaFrance which Cockeysville had standing
idle. This engine was bought on October 1, 1953 for $1,000.00
and, after much repair, went into service in November, 1954.
To get some money into the Treasury, a Fund Drive
was started. Contributions were solicited from anybody who would
stand still long enough to listen to the plea. An Oyster Roast
Committee was appointed and, on November 15, 1953, the Fire Company
had its first affair in the American Legion Hall in Towson. The
Co. had to split the proceeds right down the middle with the
In a meeting in May, 1953, Shelben Thompson was
appointed Chairman of the Land Committee for the purpose of finding
land suitable to build a Fire House. He reported in the June
meeting that Mr. Murgatroyd would sell to the Fire Company a
6 acre tract. A deposit of $300.00 was made for this property.
It has been the home of the Fire Company ever since. The following
November, for a total of $5,800.00, the land was paid for and
with this, the land transaction was completed. Now the Fire Company
was rolling in high gear.
In September, 1953, a Building Chairman and Committee
were appointed. They immediately started plans for the fire house
and, in March 1954, the President of the Fire Company was authorized
to borrow $30,000.00 from the Towson National Bank for the purpose
of building a Fire House. In April, 1954, the first blocks were
delivered for the building and on October 6, 1954, the first
meeting was held within the new Fire House.
This miracle was made possible by two major factors.
First, the tremendous participation by the community in erecting
the building, and second: On October 12, 1953, the Ladies of
Jacksonville and vicinity got together and organized the Ladies
This wonderful organization made the most outstanding
contributions. Because of the excellent food it provided, affair
after affair was an outstanding success. The touch it gave to
the interior of the Fire House made the whole enterprise worthwhile.
This collaboration and cooperation also produced financial results
which funded the much needed repairs on the American LaFrance
In the summer of 1955, one of the advisory Board
members, Mr. John Murray donated a Jeep to the Fire Company.
It was promptly modified and outfitted for a Brush Truck . In
1956, the Company bought a GMC Fire Engine at a cost of $16,500.00.
It was put into service in November 1956 as Engine #471. In the
following years, the Fire Company bought the following equipment:
In 1959, a truck from Civil Defense at a cost of
$100.00 which was modified and outfitted for a Brush Truck. In
1964, an International Fire Engine at a cost of $22,600.00 which
was put into service in November 1964 as Engine #473. In 1969,
a Dodge Brush Truck at a cost of $11,400.00 which was put into
service in May 1969 as Brush #472.
In the mid-sixties, a new phase in the history
of the Fire Company started to take shape. The record is sort
of a motion picture film, slowly unrolling. The same characters
appear again and again, with different names, and under different
However, the reasons for change are almost the
same. Again a void appeared and a group of young responsible
citizens made their ideas gel, and an ambulance service was born.
In January, 1967, the Board of Directors of the
Company agreed to make an Ambulance service a new department
within the Fire Company. The above mentioned group started contacting
the citizenry of Jacksonville and the new idea was welcomed enthusiastically.
Contributions flowed into the Treasury and in October 1967, a
new Ambulance was received at a cost of approximately $11,000.00.
The installation of proper accessories put the cost up to an
During the floods of 1971 and 1972, several of
our members borrowed boats in order to effect the rescue of persons
trapped by the rain swollen rivers. To combat the rising trend
of water rescues to which the company had responded, it was decided
that a rescue boat be purchased. A committee was formed and a
14 foot flat bottomed boat was purchased, partially through the
generous donation of $500.00 from The Western Electric Company,
Inc. The boat was powered by a 25 H.P. engine. All the men that
responded on the boat were specially trained and had to be qualified
swimmers and proficient in boat handling. This boat covered a
large area of Baltimore County and parts of Harford County, and
responded to special requests wherever it was required. The boat
was dedicated to four Volunteer Firemen who lost their lives
during the 1971 floods.
Due to the increasing use of the Maryland State
Police Helicopter for transporting accident victims to the trauma
center at University Hospital, it was decided that a Helicopter
pad be installed at the Jacksonville Volunteer Fire Company.
The helicopter pad was built by the members of the fire company
through funds allocated to them by the Ladies Auxiliary and a
$100.00 donation from the Harry T. Campbell Company. On November
25, 1973, it was dedicated to the four Maryland State Policemen
who have lost their lives in the line of duty since the Helicopter
Service was initiated.
Check back here in the future for more of the history
of our organization.