History of Somerville West End
Hose Company No. 3
The West End Hose Company was
organized in February 1888 in response to a citizen?s petition for better
fire protection on the west side of town. The newly formed company was
consolidated with the members, apparatus,
building, and grounds of the
old Union Engine Company No. 1 on Doughty Street. Ground was broken in
June of that year to replace the one-story wooden building with a two-story
brick building, which would house the new four-wheeled hose carriage that
had to be hauled by hand.
In October 1899, the West Ends
obtained a handsome rubber-tired hose wagon with a drop harness, which
was pulled by Mackey, the first horse in the Somerville Fire Department.
After eight years of faithful service, the large black horse was retired
and his place was taken by a gray horse, Harry, who refused to allow anything
to pass him on his way to a fire. Both horses were also used
by the West Ends as opportunities arose to haul baggage, freight, and household
goods to supplement the municipal funds they received.
The first motor apparatus in
the Somerville Fire Department was purchased by the West Ends in 1916.
The Mack Chemical and Hose Truck remained in service until 1930 when it
was replaced by an American LaFrance pumper. In 1969, the West Ends obtained
the department?s first diesel-powered engine, a 1250-gallon per minute
The arrival of the new Hahn
pumper saw the West Ends moving from their Doughty Avenue headquarters
to their present location on High Street. The Doughty Avenue station has
since become the Fire Museum for the department, and is maintained by the
Exempt Fireman?s Association.
The new firehouse on High
Street was built of brick and plate glass in a contemporary design to blend
into the existing surrounding residential community. The true function
of the building, however, is obvious, revealed by the large bay doors and
the visible fire apparatus and brass poles inside. The unique features
of the station include an emergency generator system in case of a power
failure, doors at the front and rear of the four-bay building, and the
ability to convert the upstairs into temporary sleeping rooms during emergencies
requiring the fire fighters to stay in quarters.
Today with their newest engine,
a 1989 Pierce Lance Pumper, the members of the West End Hose Company continually
strive to provide the same dedicated service practiced by the members of
yesterday. The company is proud of its more than 100 years of community
service to the Borough of Somerville.
Hose Company No. 3 Today