Imagine it's in the early years of the Great Depression in America, in 1931. Your volunteer fire department needs a new fire house, but the town can't begin to afford it. A town vote is held on funding the building, and they can't afford it. Do you just give up? Not for the successful businessmen who were the Corte Madera Volunteer Fire Department, Ltd. Following the tradition of many good firefighters, they persisted, improvised, adapted and overcame when faced with these obstacles.
"Let's finance and build it ourselves!" became the rallying cry. It included three apparatus bays, an assembly hall, and offices they would rent to the Town for the Police Chief and Town Clerk. They'd also lease the land to the Town for an initial 15 year period.
Several years later, they had a new fire house still in use today as the Corte Madera Town Hall, over 86 years later. As the old saying goes, it was "...built like a brick s___house!..." and is still strong today.
Read all about it and watch a wonderful short 5-minute silent film of the fire house under construction in 1931. We did set up a 'bed' of old music. See the last run from the original fire house with a 1916 Chevrolet Pope Hartford chemical engine, and the first run from the new one with a 1928 American La France pumper. The is the oldest existing film clip of the Marin County fire service that we've found so far.
Our Blog announces new site content, and gives the context of the topic and it's relationship to fire service history. Written by Tom Forster.