Mickey McHeran gave an interesting account of Engine 52 in her book Wissinoming,
my hometown. The section on the firehouse is reproduced below.
Company 52 was initially housed in a. huge red brick structure complete with brass poles
for sliding down from the second floor, and was located at Jackson and Vankirk Streets.
The cornerstone read 1888. This building once housed Wissinoming's two-room schoolhouse
prior to the building of Lawton School. The fireman stationed there throughout the years
became an integral part of the community. Whenever there was an alarm sounded, the doors
were flung open and every child around at that time ran or rode their bicycles to the
firehouse to learn where the fire was burning. The location was posted and if it was
within the limits for the children, off they went. We watched the firemen polish and clean
the fire trucks and scrub the hoses. There was a tall tower like structure at the rear of
the building wherein the fire hoses could be hung to drain and dry. The current firehouse
has a similar tower.
new firehouse was being built the men were detailed to neighboring firehouses. On the day
they returned to their new quarters, the ladies of the area baked cakes to welcome them
back. It was
completed in 1951 when Mayor Bernard Samuel was in office.
There was a
stable adjacent to the back of the first firehouse that at one time housed the horses used
to pull the firefighting apparatus of yesteryear.
One of the
most memorable fires fought by Engine Company 52 was the one in Bridesburg when Barrett's,
now Allied Chemical Corp., burned for so long a time. The sky was ablaze in all colors and
could be seen in Wissinoming long into the night.
dump was once located at Torresdale Avenue and Devereaux St. now the site of the American
Legion Recreation Center. Trash of all description found its way to that location. We
called it "Treasure Island," and if anything "good" arrived you could
be sure some enterprising child would lay claim to it.
fires would erupt amid the rubbish the firemen would train the hoses on the smoking and
blazing debris. At times the water- would rise up to great heights from the tremendous
water pressure and we'd have our own, "Old Faithful." The men of Engine Company
52 always had an appreciative audience. It would take some time after a fire till
worthwhile "goodies" could be salvaged from the rubble.
consolation to the community to know a firehouse remains at the same location as its 1888
predecessor, and the firemen are ever ready to respond to any alarms as were the former
firefighters of the "Fifty-Twos."
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