Firehouses in Social Life

Firehouses as Social Centers

  According to Tirone and Zizka in Images of America Firefighting in Willimantic, fire companies and their members were the talk of the town. Members of the fire companies were affectionally referred to as "fire laddies" or "the boys". More specific names were the Alerts, the Monties, and the Hilltops for each respective fire company in town. Fire companies were very involved in the community as they held events and sponsored dinners, dances, carnivals, parades, and even musicals at the Loomer Opera House. The parades were carefully planned and the visiting fire company would typically bring all of its members as well as some of its equipment via train. Firehouses were social centers for its members as they had rooms for gatherings that contained souvenirs from events celebrated with other fire companies from other towns. The assembly rooms or parlors were used for business, recreation, and receptions. They contained nice furniture, billiard tables, and fine furniture, carpeting, and flooring. 

  Fun fact:

  • In 1873 alone, the Alert Hose Company No. 1 held three balls. 

For more information on Willimantic's fire companies, see the Emergency Services exhibit.