History of W. K. Mansfield Hose Co.
Of the West Crescent Fire District
Town of Halfmoon, Saratoga County, New York
Efforts were made in 1924 by a group of men comprising the area including Halfmoon, Crescent and West Crescent to organize a Fire Company. Mr. Charles C. Morris of West Crescent was very active in this endeavor. However, the Fire House was established in Halfmoon and as the radius of the Fire District did not extend sufficiently to include West Crescent, the men of this area were automatically excluded as active firemen in the established Fire District.
In 1934 efforts were again made by a group of men within the West Crescent area to organize a Fire Company. A temporary organization was effected with Charles C. Morris chosen the temporary Chairman. The work of the organization progressed steadily under his leadership and sincere activities of many others.
On April 16th 1935, a permanent organization came into being by the adoption of a Constitution and By-Laws and was known as the West Crescent Fire Company. A significant donation was received from the Honorable W. K. Mansfield, a N.Y. State Assembly clerk at the time. It was decided that the official name of the fire company would be changed from the West Crescent Fire Company to the W. K. Mansfield Hose Company Incorporated, effective in 1935.
Charles M. Chase,President
Oscar VanDenburgh, Vice President
Samuel Wilcox, Captain
Charles W. Morris, First Assistant Captain
Bernie VanHeusen, Second Assistant Captain
James Stritch, Recording Secretary
Charles VanHuesen, Financial Secretary
Charles C. Morris,Treasurer
Fred Balden, Henry Fountaine, Lester Potts, Trustees
William Umber, Delegate
George DeVoe, Alternate Delegate
James Bladen, Steward
The first fire truck a 1918 Reo, formerly owned by the Peck Hose Fire Company of Waterford. It was purchased from W. H. Bumstead, Troy, NY for $50.00. It was taken to the home of Charles C. Morris for the building of the body and the overhauling of the engine. It was then taken to the home of Fred Bladen for the installation of the water tank and to make pipe connections and painting. The truck was stationed at the home of Fred Bladen until the construction of the fire house.
On September 17, 1935 the Fire Company voted to purchase on-half acre of land from Samuel Wilcox’s property as a site for the fire house for $100.00. The Trustees consummated the purchase of the Fire House site on October 1, 1935. All members worked diligently throughout the year of 1936 and 1937 to raise money for a firehouse. The Fire Company had no source of revenue except from the dues of the members. Monies were raised by parties, suppers, turkey-pig-chicken raffles and other events, i.e.: barn dances, barbecues, etc.
During 1938 construction was started on a fire house. All labor was donated by members of the fire company and interested citizens of the community of Crescent and West Crescent. Individual concrete blocks were purchased by community residents and by the end of 1938 a fire house was completed.
A fire district was established by the actions of the Clifton Park and Halfmoon Town Boards as petitioned by the resident tax-payers of the surveyed District in 1943.
The first Fire District Commissions were:
Fred Bladden served as Secretary-Treasurer of this Fire Commissioner’s Board. In 1939, a Ford 1 ton cab and chassis were purchased and rebuilt with a 500 gallon water tank and chemical tank added, to be used as second pieces of fire apparatus.
On September 8, 1947, the Fire District Commissioners were authorized by a vote of the taxable inhabitants of this fire district, i.e. the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Fire District Number Two, to purchase a fire truck and equipment with an allowable amount up to $8,500.00
In 1948 the Fire District Commissioners purchased a 1948 Chevrolet Fire Truck fully equipped with tank of 500 gallon capacity and comparable equipment. In June 1953, a 1200 gallon tank truck was purchased and put into service. This was on a two ton Dodge Chassis. Also purchased was a 7 ½ horsepower rotary siren which would be mounted on top of the fire station for alerting fire company members of alarms.
In 1954 a front mounted pump, a Darley 500 gallon per minute capacity pump, was installed on the 1948 Chevrolet pumper. A second Darley front mounted pump was purchased later in the year for the Dodge Tanker Truck.
In 1955, with once again donated labor, time and material, a new social hall was begun being constructed as an addition to the existing firehouse, this project was completed in 1957.
The company has endeavored to be minutely conscious of the maintenance of the truck and equipment committed to it’s charge and has endeavored to be prompt to respond to all emergency calls for assistance both within and without the Fire District and has been zealous in it’s cooperation with other Fire Companies within it’s operative area. The Fire Company is now operating in agreement with the Saratoga County Mutual Aid in the cooperative fire fighting emergencies and requirements.
The growth of the Fire Company’s organization has been made possible with the unstinted labors of a loyally interested membership and this has been especially so because of the wise leadership under the guidance of well qualified officers during the span of it’s existence. Current fire company officers and positions are hereafter listed;
Charles VanHosen, President
Samuel Wilcox, Vice President
Samuel Wilcox, Chief
Wilfred Lambert, Captain
John VanHosen, First Assistant Captain
George LaVigne, Second Assistant Captain
Albert Frament, Secretary and Recording Secretary
Charles VanHuesen, Financial Secretary
Joseph Primeau, Treasurer
Steven Sicko, Trustee
G. Bryans, Trustee
W. Ayotte, Trustee
The ladies of this are have not been idle for they organized the Women’s Auxiliary in December 1946. They have ably assisted the firemen in many of their activities and have participated in many community projects. Among the many projects have been the purchase of chairs, tables, a gas range, curtains, coffee maker, a canvas covering for the fire truck, a large flag for the fire house and they have raised money for these projects with suppers and entertainments.
They have helped the firemen in presenting Christmas entertainments and other events. Outside these activities they have made possible by individual assistance as well as financial aid an annual picnic for school children and have contributed their time, financial aid and labor to provide for the needs of the unfortunate within the area.
The previous information was compiled from information received from various members of the Fire company, the Women’s Auxiliary and other sources and composed by: Charles M. Chase, May 5, 1951.
The following information has been added by Life Member Allen Ayotte, and now Fire Company Historian, Jan. 20, 2008:
The W. K. Mansfield Hose Company of the West Crescent Fire District has prospered over the many years, again with the dedicated leadership and active participation of many voluntary man-house and sacrifices of the members and auxiliary of the organization. Membership at one time during the mid 1960’s to the 1970’s reached approximately 83 active members with approximately 55 social, honorary, and life members of the organization, according to past records.
In the many years following the establishment of the fire company and the fire district the volunteer membership of the organization participated in many fund raisers, parades and other events, which kept the fire company very active. Besides providing for the need in which the fire company was established in the first place, responding to emergencies, structure fires, grass fires, auto accidents, and other emergencies, these other activities consumed a great deal of the memberships time and energy. However, because of all these activities, the camaraderie, friendships and respect for one another grew over these many years. Like many other volunteer organizations, what you get out of the organization on a personal basis is generally based on what you put into it.
In 1991 the first proposed new firehouse, to replace the current 40 plus year old building at that time, was proposed at a cost of $2.5 million dollars. Voters soundly defeated this proposal and three succeeding proposals with lower dollar amounts each time.
With a subsequent change in architects, a new scaled-back plan was developed and proposed with a $782,000 price tag and accepted by resident taxpayers in 1993 by a large margin. The completion of construction occurred in January 1996 when the fire department moved into its new headquarters at the station. The completion of the new station and moving in was perfect timing to major flooding and ice jams along the Mohawk River and southern portions of the Town of Halfmoon. The building served as an operational command center for both fire and town emergency officials, as well as, an emergency shelter for more than 20 residents that had to be evacuated from their homes. The older structure, which was still standing could not have served such a versatile purpose during the emergency because of its dilapidated condition. The 8,000 square foot new station was twice the size of the former structure. During this emergency more than 34 structures sustained major damage, including the Krause’s Restaurant which was located directly adjacent to the river.
Today the W.K. Mansfield Hose Company of the West Crescent Fire District is a well equipped, well managed, and well trained emergency service organization. The fire company takes pride in its many achievements over the years and its hopes for years to come. With continued dedicated leaders and team members the West Crescent Fire District community can share in that pride and rest assured that their fire service will be there when they are needed.