Looking Back: Hook and Ladder Station # 6 – The Vicksburg Post
By Nancy Bell | Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation
In September 1902, the fire department and town officials began discussing where new fire stations were needed.
It was decided that a new hook and ladder station would be built in the middle of Walnut Street, just south of Madison Street, near what was then Walnut Street School. You can see in the photo that it is now a vacant lot east of Price’s Glass, at the foot of Castle Hill.
In the historical photograph, you can see the fire hydrant at the top of the hill, as well as the exposed earth behind the station. In October 1902, The Vicksburg American reported that “Mayor Trowbridge received a letter from the Seagrave Company in Columbus, Ohio, stating that the new fire hose hook and ladder and reel for that town were shipped on 14e instant. The hook and ladder will be placed in the new house to be built on the corner of Walnut and Madison streets.
The purchase of new fire engines has always been a festive event in Vicksburg. On October 31 of the same year, the American reported that the hook and ladder had finally arrived at the cargo depot and that the Deputy Fire Chief would take care of it and transport it to Constitution Firehouse until the station 6 is finished. The Vicksburg Herald reported that the hook-and-ladder truck “is a beauty, albeit seemingly a bit heavy, but that may only seemingly because the team has climbed the hill quite well with the machine. The truck was greatly admired as it drove across Washington Street towards the temporary quarters of Constitution Engine House. “
The next day, the Herald reported, “Everything was joy and gratification in the Vicksburg Fire Department yesterday because of the extra device just received. Early yesterday morning, Mr. Ed Hayes and his assistants at Constitution Engine House pulled out the hook and ladder truck that had been installed there, for a little practice.
“They chose their own building as a voucher to try to climb a ladder, so the truck was pulled out onto the street. The 50-foot extension ladder was exhausted and for an hour the boys practiced with it, finding it rather awkward at first. After a very short time, however, they shifted the ladder from a horizontal to a perpendicular position with a snap of a finger, with the heel resting on the sidewalk below and the top end on the dome, which sits 50 feet above.
“As for the truck itself, it’s a beauty, it’s well-equipped and well-equipped and will be a great addition to the firefighting apparatus. It contains six ladder nests, 15 to 50 feet, strongly built, and all on the extension plane. The truck carries with it as part of its equipment, eight house hooks or Babcock roof hooks, door openers, roof cutters, combined picks and axes, ropes, torches, shovels, forks. The whole device is beautifully decorated and painted, and furthermore is light and easy to transport, and the general impression is that the Seagrave Company has turned out to be a dandy.
In November, Frank Barber, president of the Vicksburg Baseball Association, traveled to St. Louis, where he “bought a set of beautiful horses to pull the new hook and ladder cart.” On November 4, the city opened bids and awarded the construction of the new fire hall to L. Ledbetter for $ 1,154. Firefighters continued to train with their new equipment throughout November, at one point taking the hook and ladder cart to the Carroll Hotel on Clay Street, training on the West Front . The new fire hall was completed on February 28, when the Vicksburg Herald reported that “the house itself is a very neat and serviceable affair and although the brick would have been better in view of the permagency (sic) , the structure is it seems compact, durable and usable, with no unnecessary space, but room for everything, for the device, for the power supply, the harness and the housing for the four-legged and forked attendants. Surmounting the gable of the roof facing north has been placed a small belfry inside which will be placed the bell offered to Captain Hosseley and his comrades of the company by Captain Powers, who formerly served Bonnie Annie Laurie. Overall, the house is clean and tidy and will undoubtedly be suitable for its intended use.
Days later, the Herald reported that “the new fire station at the end of Walnut Street now holds the hook and ladder truck and incidentally Dennis Hossley, Dan Johnson, Joe Genella and the truck crew. As a result of this transfer, which was made early yesterday morning, things around Constitution Engine House and “Jackson Road” were generally unusually quiet yesterday, and as Constitution Chief Ed Hayes noted, the Old House seems pretty deserted.
“At the same time, there’s a lot more room for the Constitution Steamer and the old reliable Constitution reel, and for that Engineer Andy O’Connor and Driver Hayes are grateful. But all the same, they admit a certain feeling of loneliness without ‘Capt. Dennis, ‘which has been the life of Constitution Hall.
In September 1920, the city launched a call for tenders for the demolition of the fire station. The lot remains empty today.