City of Manchester, NH Official Website

Fire Department (0405)

On October 26, 1839, the town of Manchester held a meeting in which voters adopted certain fire protection measures. There was an appointment of eleven fire wards, a chairman, and a chief. There was also a purchase of some equipment, a new station was built, and there was an appropriation of $1,000.

In April of 1841, almost a full year after a major fire destroyed the Island Mill building which was located below the Amoskeag Falls, the first hook and ladder company was established in Manchester. The company served as volunteers, without compensation, until 1852.

In 1845, after the original town hall building was destroyed by a fire on August 12, 1844, a Board of Fire Engineers was established. This board replaced the previous organization of fire wards, and was led by Daniel Clark, the first Chief Engineer. At the annual town hall meeting on March 10, 1845, it was voted to pay fire fighters ten cents an hour for actual service at fires.

After Manchester became a city, the department went through numerous organizational changes and experienced different technological advances in its equipment, including motorized vehicles replacing horse-drawn carts. The Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the establishment of the Board of Fire Commissioners on March 27, 1917, and it was organized on May 1 of the same year, bringing the department under it auspices.

Collections

Annual Reports of the Fire Department, 1868-1987; 2013 (0405.001)

The collection consists of annual reports created by the Fire Department from 1868 to 1987 (non-inclusive), which were sent to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for review. One Commemorative Yearbook from 2013 is also included.

The collection is a strong representation of the department and its activities during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

Board of Fire Commissioners Records, 1917-2016 (0405.002)

This collection consists of the commission's meeting minutes, supporting documents of meetings, general orders and notices, and images.

Firefighters' Memorial Collection, 2003 (0405.004)

This collection consists of materials related to the Manchester Firefighters' Memorial, including photographs.

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