Bellefonte, Centre County, Pennsylvania, was settled in 1795. Bellefonte became 'incorporated' as a Borough in 1806. During the last year of the 5 years Civil War, 1865, a fire swept along the entire west side of Allegheny Street, from High to Bishop Streets, clearly demonstrating the critical necessity of a better form of 'fire control.' Fire fighting was done by bucket brigades during this time in history. In 1868, the history of Logan Fire Company No. 1 begins.
There is tradition, commitment, honor, pride, strong sense of community service, and love for community within the walls of the Logan Fire Station. We are a "family-oriented" organization, 145 years of service.
Our motto is: "Where Duty calls, there you will find us."
The Logan Fire Company No. 1 had been organized and re-organized, all within the first four years of its initial existence, 1868 to 1872. Through the years, it had been known variously as the Logan Steam Fire Company, Logan Hose No. 1, Logan Hose Company, Bellefonte Fire Company, Logan Fire Company of Bellefonte, and what is now the Logan Fire Company No. 1.
During the last year of the Civil War, 1865, a fire swept along the entire west side of Allegheny Street, from High to Bishop Streets, clearly demonstrating the critical necessity of a better form of fire control. Fire fighting was done by bucket brigades during this time in history.
In 1868, the Bellefonte Borough purchased a hose-carriage from the Schuylkill Hose Company of Philadelphia. The Logan Hose Company was then organized with 53 charter members. John N. Lane was chosen foreman. Headquarters was on a site then occupied by the Morris Levine home at 139 West Howard Street. From 1868 to 1870, meetings were held in a stable which was located on the property. This organization lasted until 1870, and then, because of a lack of appropriations by the Borough Council for maintaining the company, it disbanded.
On February 9, 1870, members of the Bellefonte Fire Company met in the Borough Council chambers for the purpose of formally organizing another fire company. Elected as officers were A. Boyd Hutchinson, president; Levi Miller, vice president; A. Morrison, secretary; W. S. Wagner, treasurer; John H. Wolfe, chief; Joseph Hillibish, assistant chief; William Galbraith and Franklin Hillibish, plugmen; and John N. Lane, James F. Armor, and a "Mr. Dooley,: as directors. There were 58 charter members.
On February 25, 1870, the membership met to vote on an official name for the fire company. Two names were proposed: Logan and Victory. Logan won out due to the support of the name by the "President" of the company. The "Chief" and his supporters favored Victory. The members of the Logan Fire Company returned to their old stable on West Howard Street.
On July 4, 1870, thirty-six uniformed Logan Fire Company fire fighters marched in the Independence Day parade, led by a band from Unionville. On that same day, all fire plugs were tested within Bellefonte.
The Logans fought their first fire on August 20,1870, a stable fire on Pike Alley. During the 1870's, a great rivalry existed between the Logans and Undines, another fire company which formed within Bellefonte in 1871. This rivalry generated quick responses, as each company would race to be the "first" on scene. Far too often, the companies would swiftly arrive at a fire only to find that the Bellefonte Borough water system could not provide adequate water until they started the steam pumps at the "Big Spring." As a result, both companies would race to a fire with a full complement of equipment, only to stand-by and watch buildings burn to the ground.
During this time in history: Year 1870 - 39 States, Civil War had ended (1861 - 1865) 5 years, estimated 700,000 deaths due to war.
Ulysses S. Grant was the President of the United States. He served as the 18th President, two terms, March 4, 1869 - March 4, 1877. The Vice President was Schuyler Colfax, Speaker of the House was James G. Blaine, the 41st Congress was in session.
The Governor of Pennsylvania was John W. Geary, 16th Governor, two terms, January 15th, 1867 - January 21, 1873.
John Frederick Hartranft became the 17th Governor, serving two terms, January 21, 1873 - Jan 21, 1879.
-- Construction of the Brooklyn Bridges began Jan 3rd.
-- John D. Rockefeller incorporates "Standard Oil," Jan 10th.
-- Virgina rejoins the Union, during the Reconstruction era, Jan 26th.
-- 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution, guaranteeing African-American males the right to vote, was passed, Feb 3rd.
-- The YMCA was founded in New York City, Feb 10th.
-- Women gain the right to vote in Utah Territory, Feb 12th.
-- Military control of Mississippi ends, and it is readmitted to the Union, Feb 23rd.
-- Hiram Rhodes Revels, Republican from Mississippi, sworn into the US Senate, becoming the first African American ever to sit in the US Congress, Feb 25th.
-- First pneumatic subway opened in New York City, Feb 26th.
-- Texas is readmitted to the Union following Reconstruction, Mar 30th.
-- US Congress creates the US Department of Justice, June 22nd.
-- Christmas is declared a federal holiday in the United States, June 26th.
-- Reconstruction, Georgia becomes the last former Confederate state to be readmitted to the Union, July 15th.
-- Weather Bureau ( later renamed National Weather Service ) makes its first official meteorological forecast, Nov 1st.
Reconstruction Era ( 1865 - 1877 ) following the Civil War, transformation of the Southern U.S., directed by Congress, with reconstruction of state and society.
Gilded Age ( 1869 - 1896 ) Era of rapid economic growth in North and West U.S. American wages higher, especially skilled workers, much higher than in Europe, attracted millions of immigrants. Railroads were the major industry.
In 1871, Mr. E. C. Humes, then president of the First National Bank in Bellefonte, built a building on the site and leased it to the borough for the Logans to use as a new fire hall. The meetings were no longer held in the stable. The Logan Fire Company voted to disband on June 21, 1872. Three days later, on June 24, 1872, The Logan Fire Company No. 1 was organized with a charter membership of 94. Daniel Rhoads, superintendent of the historic Bellefonte and Snow Shoe Railroad, was elected president.
In December 1890, the Logans purchased from the Silsby Company, located in Seneca Falls, N.Y., one of their "best and latest improved" steam fire engines, a powerful machine for throwing water. By 1895, the Logans had a hose carriage with 500 feet of fire hose, hose cart with 400 feet of fire hose, and a "hook and ladder" truck. Other equipment noted was gum overcoats and boots, dress red and black uniforms for formal events - all within company followed regulations, long drab overcoats, helmets, and belts. Conditions at the West Howard Street Fire Hall were such, at the beginning of 1897, the public felt the need for a new headquarters for the Logans.
On February 20, 1897, the old building caught on fire. The temper of the times among the populace was such that there was little or no care whether the old fire hall burned to the ground or not. Notwithstanding this sentiment, the Logans saved their old location from destruction.
On August 5, 1897, the Borough Council formulated plans to build a new "Borough Hall" on a site purchased from John P. Harris in 1894. The history of the purchased site goes back to Andrew Gregg, who lived in Bellefonte from 1814, until his death in 1835. He was a former United State Senator and the grandfather of former Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Gregg Curtin. Originally, the location was all one property and owned by Senator Gregg. In the layout of the borough, by James Harris and Colonel Dunlop, it was known as "Lot 109," It fronted 50 feet on North Allegheny Street and ran 200 feet along the south side of East Howard Street to Decatur Alley.
Senator Gregg, in his will dated January 2, 1834, left the property to his daughter, Mrs. Jane Gregg Curtin, It was noted at the time that there was a "two-story stone house" erected on the site. When Mrs. Curtain died, she left it to her son, Governor Curtin. Governor Curtin sold that lot to Mary A. Shaler on August 19, 1864. While Governor Curtin was chief executive of the Commonwealth in Harrisburg, in the midst of the Civil War, he sold for the price of $4,700.
Mary A. Shaler sold the property to Mrs. Eliza I. Curtin on April 8, 1869, for $8,500. Mrs. Curtin was the wife of Roland Curtin Jr., who was born on the site September 2, 1808. Her maiden name was Irvin, daughter of John Irvin, an early settler in the Linden Hall/Oak Hall area. On February 16, 1891, Mrs. Curtin sold the back part of the lot to John P. Harris, "as trustee," for the use of the Borough of Bellefonte. The price was $1,500. The area measured 50 by 65 feet. In October of 1894, the exact date was not recorded, although the deed was "entered and recorded" on October 31, 1894, John P. Harris, "as trustee," sold it to the borough for $1,500.
It was designated that the new building "Borough Hall" would house the council chambers, Logan Fire Company No. 1, Borough Lockup, and police headquarters. Robert Cole, noted Bellefonte architect, was engaged to design the building.
William Brachbill, local merchant and member of the Council, introduced a resolution that the bid of Ben Bradley, local contractor, be accepted for the construction of the building in the amount of $3,945, providing that the Finance Committee can find suitable means for obtaining the money.
On April 20, 1897, Mr. Bradley got construction underway. He removed an old structure on the lot that had been the home of the Coronet Hook and Ladder Company, a fire company that was formed in February 1887, disbanded in February 1894. Reasons given for the disbandment were due to the inability of providing enough men to man their apparatus. After disbandment, the apparatus, a Hays truck, was turned over to the borough, then given to the Logans. Bellefonte went from three fire companies back to two, the Logans and the Undines.
The new 'Borough Hall' and home of the 'Logan Fire Company No. 1,' constructed of 'Mill Hall pressed brick,' was completed on November 18, 1897. The Logans held their first meeting there on December 7, 1897.
With this new location and building, to the general public, it was the 'Logan Fire House.' Technically, it was the 'Borough Hall,' since the borough owned the property.
Characteristics of the new building:
- Special office space for the Burgess was installed on the first floor
- The Logans outfitted their meeting room with a 'Brussels carpet,' 48 cane-seated arm chairs, and beautiful chandeliers
- Proudly noted that the heat from the steam boiler in the cellar kept the horse-drawn fire engine 'supplied with hot water constantly'
- Another highlight: 'the bathroom had hot running water'
The company became 'mechanized' on November 6, 1917, when they purchased their first motorized vehicle - a Pierce-Arrow touring car from Col. W. Fred Reynolds for $1,500. The top of the car was 'sawed off' and the remainder of the auto was converted to a 'fire engine.'
The second piece of motorized equipment ws a Model T Ford. The chassis had upon the rear, a mounted front end of a Ladder Wagon.
In the early 1920's, the Logans experienced a bad fire at the Bellefonte Academy. Mutual aid was called from Lock Haven. Lock Haven responded by sending a pumper. This proved to the town that Bellefonte needed a motorized pumper. Lock Haven brought one of theirs to Bellefonte and gave a demonstration. Soon after, The Logans acquired their first pumper which was a Studebaker.
In April 1949, the Logans have formed the 'Logan Fire Compay Ambulance Club.' In 1958, it was renamed the 'Logan Fire Company Ambulance Service.' It was determined that the word 'Club' was not appropriate, that 'Service' was a much better word.
In October 1965, the Logan Fire Company No. 1 purchased from the heirs of the Hamilton estate, three frame homes on East Howard Street, immediately east of the 'Borough Hall' building. The purchase comprised a frontage of 120 feet on East Howard Street and the total distance between Decatur Alley and Penn Street, depth ranges from 120 feet along Penn Street to 129 feet on Decatur Alley. The purchased price was $12,500. The plan for the purchased properties was, remove the three single family homes, level the lots, and convert into parking places for now. Eventually, the big plan was to build their own fire house. The property was entirely paid for by company funds, earned through various fundraiser activities over the years. At this time, some of the Logan officers were: Robert Monsell, president; William Benner, secretary; and Robert Vaughn, Charles Coble as trustees. The fire company's attorney at this time was Charles C. Brown. Mr. Brown took very good care of the Logans during the purchasing of the properties, the signing of all the paper work.
In 1969, the Logans answered sixty-seven emergency calls, five of which were false alarms. Equipment was used a total of seventy-seven hours and twenty-six minutes, an average of twenty-six men. During the same year, the ambulance service responed to five hundred and ten calls,. Due to the expense of operating a fire station, getting ready to build their first own fire station, a variety of fund-raisers were being done, such as carnivals, sales of 'hogie' sandwiches, chicken barbecues, raffles, and other activities.
In 1970, the Logans moved into their own fire house at 120 East Howard Street. When it came time for the move, all fire apparatuses and ambulances moved into the new fire station, with plenty of room to spare. At this time, the Logans presently operated and maintained seven pieces of equipment. The 'Borough Hall' no longer consisted of the Logan Fire Company No. 1.
In 1995, Logan Fire Company Ambulance Service, was reformed into the 'Bellefonte Emergency Medical Services,' also known as 'BEMS.' BEMS became its own entity, separate from the fire company. In 1998, BEMS moved from the fire house to its own location at 369 Phoenix Avenue, near the former Match Factory.
Today, approximately 230 individuals are members, but only approximately 30 are 'active.' There had been a succession of equipment over time and currently the membership has equipment consisting of Engine 111, Engine/Rescue 114, Special Unit 122, and Brush 125. The fire protection service area consists of Bellefonte Borough, sections of Benner, Marion, and Spring Townships. As of today, the Logans continue a varity of fund-raisers, such as, the well known mail drives, chicken barbecues, and other activities. As the costs continue to rise in maintaining a volunteer fire company, the members continue finding creative ways to bring in revenue. We as members of a 'family oriented fire company' must balance our time with family (spouses, children), employment, hobbies, fire fighter/first aid/safety training, fund raisers, and community service.
The Logans are one of three entities that make up the 'Bellefonte Fire Department.' The other two entities are the Undine Fire Company #2, and Bellefonte Medical Services (BEMS), formerly known as 'Logan Fire Company Ambulance Service.'
The Logans are currently participating in the 'Commonwealth of Pennsylvania State Fire Commissioner's Voluntary Fire Service Certificate Program.' The Logans continue to be prepared protecting the lives and properties of the citizens of Bellefonte and surrounding townships. The Logans still and continue to be, '100% Volunteer.'