An early photo of the fire
department. Judi Burns identifies the firemen here as (l to r) Bill
Wagner, Al Rollen, Donovan Overmyer, Oscar Booker, David Burns, Verl Mc
Feely, Perch Blanchard, Art Fishburn, Irwin Hatten and Harry Edgington.
From the collection of
Robert Waite: a 1919 Olympic fire truck. The fireman are: Henry
Listenberger, Al Roberts, Roy Swikert, Ed McFeely, Hickory Murphy,
Archie Blanchard, fire chief Clifford Waite (Robert Waite's father),
Tuck Swigart, Owen Gandy, Art Fishburn, Jake Saine. The drivers are Ed
Cook and Perch Blanchard, according to Robert Waite.
An early photo of Culver's
Volunteer Fire Dept.
Another early fire
department shot, this one depicting what must have been one of the early
fire trucks the department used.
"Culver Volunteer Fire
Company No. 1" postcard, circa early 1900s.
A spectacular fire
claimed the long-standing bowling alley and coffee shop on Lake
Shore Drive on Oct. 21, 1978. Fire departments from Culver,
Plymouth, and surrounding communities assisted in quenching the
blaze. The building was located a few doors east of the movie
theater, almost directly across the street from the train depot in
the town park, on the north side of Lake Shore Drive.
Culver Fire Dept. Has Illustrious History (from a 1980 Pilot-News article)
The Culver-Union Township Fire Department has an illustrious record extending back more than 77 years. In pioneer days, at least until the mid 1890's, the prevention, and fighting of area fires was largely carried out by a neighborhood bucket brigade. Records indicate that in the late 1890's a self-designated group was recognized for their volunteer fire fighting efforts.
On January 24, 1903, a petition carrying names of 13 men was presented to the Town Board requesting approval of and sanction for organizing a Volunteer Fire Company. The 13 petitioners, all charter members of the Community Volunteer Fire Co., included: T. Saine, chief; Arthur Morris, assistant ' chief; J.R. Saine, secretary; Thomas Slattery, treasurer; Ora Byrd„ Edward Zechiel, Charles Medbourn, Fred Cook, A1 Mawhorter, Walter Byrd, William Cook, Mont Foss, and G.W. Smith.
An inventory of original fire equipment reveals "2 extinguishers, 22 rubber buckets (one reported to be no good), 13 cans of chemical, and one very heavy ladder. "
The Town Board was asked to consider the Fire Company's request for "two sets of ladders, two ladders with hooks, one cart for ladders, one fire hook with chain, two keys for church, one half-inch rope for extra tapper on (church) bell, one pickaxe, and more rubber buckets." An appendix shows the Board "received the report favorably, increasing the number of buckets by four, purchase of two axes."
In nearly 80 years the Volunteer Fire Company has involved the services of more than 120 men with little turnover of personnel. Since 1903, 12 men have served as Fire Chief; T Saine, O. Gandy, Al Roberts, C.C. Waite, Fred Cook, Roy Swigart, A.M. Fishburn, A. Cromley, Wayne Von Ehr Cary Cummins, Dave Burns, and Don Overmyer.
Today Don Overrnyer, a 29-year veteran, heads the Fire Department, comprised of 16 men, including Alvin Triplet, assistant chief; Don Mikesell secretary-treaserer Bill Wagner, captain; Don Stubbs Leon Bennett, Lance Overmyer Bob Curtis, Bill Martin, Ray Houghton, Mike Bennett. Jim Grover, Dick Shoddy, Jim Dickey, Bill Snyder and Glen Whitmarsh. Volunteer dispatchers are Erma Weirick and Darlene Smith.
Meetings are held twice each month. Equipment checks and involvement in training are among the regularly scheduled firemen activities. Equipment today is a far cry from the original 1903 requests.
An abbreviated inventory shows today a broad range of fire fighting equipment, including 3 John Bean trucks with equipment; 1 GMC grass truck with Hale Pump; 1 emergency van with portable power; 1-1,100 gallon tank truck; resusitators; asbestos suits, portable light plant, smoke ejector, communications system, first aid equipment, etc.
In 1903 some time before a central town water system, water buckets were essential. In earlier times equipment was housed in the former Town Hall. Today the Fire Department is housed in the former IH building, Lake Shore Dr., at State St.
Through the years the Volunteer Firemen have been called upon to fight fires ranging from grass fires to major building fires; from life saving or rescue efforts and accidents to assisting with community activities. Fire Chief Overmyer says that the number of calls has increased measurably in the past 20 years.
Since establishment, the Fire Department has rendered yeoman service to the community-area. Whether it has been the burning of the CMA Riding Hall in 1916; or the Academy Boat House, The Beach Lodge, retrieving bodies from the Lake in the 1930's; or the fire-rescue efforts of the '40's; or the tragic Hibbard home fire, the St. Mary's Catholic Church fire, or the rescue efforts at Miller's in the '50's; or the Grace Church fire in the '60's; or the more recent fire fighting efforts,- the CMA-Gym, Morrison fire. Bowling AlleyRestaurant, or the Elevator fire of the '70's, the Culver-Union Volunteer Fire Co., has had a vital role in area urgencies.
And along the way they have reciprocally lent a hand to neighboring communities. It's a record in which the community takes pride.
Judi Burns' extensive website on Culver's fire
department of yesteryear...
Two officers of
Culver's Lake Patrol, Lee Jordan and his brother Mike Jordan,
photographed by White Photography in June of 1969 at the Culver
Marina on the East Shore. Thanks to Rich Sytsma for identifying the
two officers for us!
A 1958 photo of the
Lake Patrol car, showing also officers James Cox (standing) and
Herbert Lashbrook (seated in car).
Captain James Rich, the well-known Lake Patrol officer shown in
this 1955 photo from the Culver Citizen. The caption describes
the Lake Maxinkuckee Association, a younger organization then,
but one which still operates the Lake Patrol around
Maxinkuckee's shores today.