1920's-1950's | 1960's-1980's | 1990's-2000's | 2010 -present
The History of Beechwood Fire Dept. 1920's - 1950's
Because the minute-books for the years 1920-1950 could not be located, it is regrettable that the names and accomplishments of the men who served the department in that period are not completely included in this history. Newspapers and memories were the sources for those years.
Newspapers of that time mention events at Koch’s Hall, music by Pat’s Hartford Cowboys, Eberle’s Beer garden with Lithia on tap and lunches served at all hours, Monroe Stahl cut ice from the lake to fill his icehouse. Chase and Sanborn coffee sold for $0.22 a pound.
The Beechwood Fire Department bought a 1938 Ford truck and built it into a fire truck. It was used until 1967. The department had a 500-gallon pumper, hoses and chemical tanks. Chemical tanks were especially important for fighting rural fires where there was not a reliable supply of water. In the early years, even whey-tank drivers would respond to a fire and contribute loads of whey to fight a fire.
In July of 1940, the department bought Koch’s grove south of hwy S in Section 16 (Vol. 244 pg 85) and began clearing it for a park so that picnics could be held there. An area was leveled to lay a wooden dance floor. It was two days of work t o set up the dance floor ever time it was used. It was an open-air dance floor, surrounded by snow fencing. Dancing was to the music of Herbert Buhk. Admission charge was $0.42 plus $0.08 tax.
As we plan for the future there are a lot of unknowns. Firefighters tactics are constantly changing due to changes in construction and materials used to build. Our Department is strong, our Department is ready, and our Department will be there for you when you need us.
The next project was the construction of a dance pavilion. Other improvements included drilling a well, interior plumbing, and a beer stand. Wedding dances were held in the pavilion; it is now used for bingo games and the Auxiliary Sweet shop at the annual picnic.
In 1947, the department joined the Eastern Wisconsin Fireman’s Association, covering Sheboygan, Calumet, Manitowoc, and Ozaukee counties. Membership has continued to the present time.
Fire Chief Arthur Staege, long-time chief of the department and garage operator in Beechwood for 35 years, dies on May 3, 1950. Assistant Chief Art Fritz succeeded him.
In 1954, the department bought a 1949 Studebaker truck with a 1250-gallon water tank, a 500-gallon per minute pump, and 1000 feet of 2 ½ inch hose.
Picnics were the scene of water fights between fire departments in which each team, using pumper trucks and fire hoses, tried to force a beer keg to the opponent’s end of an overhead cable.
Firemen held their meetings on the 14th of each month; officers were elected to three-year terms. Trucks were stored in Fritz’s garage over winter. A piano was bought for the fire hall. The siren button, at times located outside the tavern and store, was moved to Art Fritz’s garage. It was blown four times for a small fire and twelve times for a large one.
In 1955, the department bought three acres of land in Section 17 at the southwest intersection of County Highways A and S (Vol. 361 pg 218-221) for use as a baseball diamond. This action demonstrated the unique role of the volunteer fire department. No other agency provides such community-wide service and, as a practical matter, the same persons would have been involved, so the department voted to lend the baseball team $900 interest free.
The department bought a new portable pump. Day-duty firemen trained to operate it were Ellis Krahn and Ralph Hintz. Night duty firemen were Ray Matthies and Lynes Fellenz.
In 1956, the department received $500 from the Town of Scott. Meetings were held on the first Thursday of the month. In 1957, new smoke masks were bought, a new system for dialing fire calls was introduced, and the town was asked to increase it’s payment to $1000.