Vintage Michigan Fire Departments, 1898-1950
When I was a kid, I remember whenever that fire siren went off. Neighborhoods kids would come running out their door, slamming the screen behind 'em, jumping off the porch, onto their bikes, and off they would go to follow the fire trucks.
But it wasn't just about watching some field or building burning...it was watching the firefighters in action. Admiring those shiny red trucks. Wishing we were the ones squirtin' water.
In wondering when firefighting began, it's logical to believe that it has always been around, right? I mean, after the discovery of fire, if a caveman's home fire accidently spread, he would likely put it out...makes sense to me.
On the other hand, the Firefighter Foundation website says firefighting began in ancient Rome during the third century.....but then they go on to say there is earlier proof of firefighting in ancient Egypt.
In the year 60 AD, Nero formed a firefighter brigade called the Vigiles.
The first U.S. President to be a firefighter? George Washington.
The first female firefighter was Molly Williams, New York, in 1818.
But for a kid growing up in America, a firehouse held a fascination...the sliding pole, horses, shiny trucks, and the stories the firemen would tell to any kid who'd listen.
Firehouses aren't as folksy & quaint as they were decades ago, but today's firefighters are obviously better equipped and just as good – and sometimes better – then the firefighters from over 100 years ago. But the fascination kids used to have has changed.
Take a look at the gallery below, showing many vintage photos of fire departments and firemen going back well over 100 years!