Norwood Fire Company

The Norwood Fire Company was organized on Monday, November 21, 1892, in Calhoun’s Hall. Calhoun’s Hall was owned by William Calhoun and was a public hall that stood at the corner of Winona and Welcome Avenues where Gera’s café is today. Thirty-two men attended the first meeting and they chipped in $150.00 to get the fire company started. Dues were fixed at $5.00 a year for each member and the name Norwood Fire Co. #1” was chosen. William Calhoun was chosen first president. The first piece of equipment was a hose reel obtained from the Harmony Fire Company of Philadelphia.

The fire Company was chartered by the Delaware County Courts on September 2, 1895. Ground was obtained from Sam Hall for $875.00 on Winona Avenue for a fire house and a small brick fire house was built in late 1902. The Firehouse itself was dedicated on Monday, November 8, 1902. Norwood dedicated the new fire house last night and housed the fire apparatus and the occasion was one of the most notable since the corporation of the prett suburban town.

One of the most imposing demonstration ever witnessed in the boro was the parade of the firemen last night; and to get ready for it, the people were busily engaged all day in decorating their homes, and by evening the town was an entire mass of bunting, Japanese lanterns and other illuminating effects. The rain which fell, did not interfere with the ceremonies, and the crowd that witnessed the parade was the largest that had ever seen a public display in the boro.

Shortly after 8 o’clock, the line was formed and at the signal of Chief Marshal B. Burtin Bolljack, the procession moved. The order of march was as follows: Morton Band; Ridley Park Fire Company; 60 men under command of Chief Engineer Thomas McKeewa, carrying in line their new silk banner and accompanied by their mascot, Robert Lewis, a shepherd dog; Clifton Heights fire Protective Association; Clifton Chief Andrew McGirr with 90 men; the Norwood Assembly of Artisan, 52 men; Citizens’ Band of Chester; Norwood Fire Company. Occupying the right of the line of their parade were 15 members of the Harmony Hose Company of Philadelphia, the oldest organization in Philadelphia, having been organized in 1745. After going over the line of march, the parade was stopped at the new fire house where the Clifton Heights Hook and Ladder Company housed the new hose carriage.

“In the parade, the Council and School Board occupied carriages. After the ceremonies of the housing of the new hose carriage, the company and its visitors returned to Norwood Hall, where a luncheon was served.”

- (Chester Times, November 9, 1902)

The Firehouse was enlarged in April, 1908, and burned as a result of an arson fire on August 2, 1908. The fire hose was cut, and both alarm systems disabled. Two members arrived just in time to save the fire equipment, one of these men was “Pop” McClellan, who later became President of the Fire Company for thirty-six years. In 1920, the fire company acquired their first piece of motorized equipment, a 1920 Model T. Ford. The company progressed adding a Reo-Pumper in 1925, a Mack City Service Truck in 1936, and a Ward Pumper and an International Squad Truck in 1947. In 1955, the town voted for a $58,000.00 bond issue to buy a new Aerial Ladder Truck and a new Pumper, which were placed into service in 1958. In 1958, the Norwood Ambulance Service was formed by the Fire Company and handled 323 calls that first year. In 1968, the Firehouse was renovated to its present appearance.

Thanks to Keith Lockhart from for this information