On a beautiful winter's morning in the month of Jan. 1908, as the Citizens in the village of
Sanatoga were awakening and moving out to their duties and callings of the day, the cry of
fire sounded out, and was carried more distinctly as it seemed by the morning's clear,
bracing atmosphere. Long View Mansion was on fire, many of the villagers left their work
and ran to give their assistance in whatever way they possibly could, but being without any
fire fighting apparatus they where almost compelled to stand by slowly but steadily whipping
their way from the interior to the outer part and thence to the barn, various remarks were
heard and in their eager desire to save this mansion with its contents, every effort was put
The call was sent to Pottstown Fire Department, and while they were almost four miles
away, they responded, and rushed a steam engine and a number of firemen to the
Sanatoga Lake, the nearest water supply, and soon had a stream of water playing on the
flames. But, ah yes, it was too late, the distance too far, the flames could not be controlled,
and the buildings were destroyed. It was while the villagers had to stand and see a beautiful
mansion burned that they realized it could have been saved if the Pottstown responding
firemen would not have had the long distance to cope with, or, had our villagers been
equipped with the proper fire fighting apparatus. And as they realized and saw these needs,
many times was said we need fire protection, we need fire fighting apparatus, and on their
way home a meeting was talked of and called to be on Jan. 21, in Kurtz's building.
At this meeting the following villagers met: J. K. Buchert, A. C. Wismer, Harry Scheffy, L. K.
Drumheller, J. B. Krause, S. J. Kurtz, Pharus Schock, Eben Stewart, S. K. Neifer, Morris
DeKalb, Harrison Neifer, Erwin Repert, Herbert Kurtz and Eph. S. Hartenstine. S. J. Kurtz
was chosen chairman and J. K. Buchert, secretary. After discussing matters, the following
committee was appointed: A. C. Wismer, Eph. S. Hartenstine, L. K. Drumheller, J. K.
Buchert and J. B. Krause. They were to look into the cost, etc., of various fire apparatus
and report at the next meeting on Jan. 28th.
At this meeting the additional parties present were Sylvester DeKalb, James Rowan, Wm.
B. Levengood, C. A. Shuhart, J. M. Yerger, S. C. Brooke, F. C. Newhard, Ed. M. Rhoads,
Chas. Puhl, Leroy Krause, Wm. Scheffey and John Wensel. At this our second meeting a
company to be known as the Sanatoga Fire Company, No. I, was organized, and the
following officers were elected: S. J. Kurtz, President; Eph. S. Hartens tine,
Vice-president; J. K. Buchert, Recording Secretary; J. M. Yerger, Financial Secretary, and
Pharus Shock, Treasurer. The President at this meeting appointed a committee to draw up
a Constitution and by-laws for the company.
Feb. 4th at our third meeting, we adopted the Constitution and By-laws and heard a report
that $260 had been subscribed toward a fire apparatus, and the committee acting on the
same was instructed to receive bids on various engines, apparatus, etc. Following the
subscriptions and donations the company received caused the following committee to he
appointed to purchase: A. C. Wismer, J. K. Buchert, Pharus Schock, J. M. Yerger, and
Eph. S. Hartenstine. On Mar. 3 after hearing the claims of half a dozen different
representatives of about the same number of different engines, machines, etc., on the
market, the purchasing Committee decided to purchase the Hows water and chemical
five-wheel apparatus, and ordered the same sent on, from their factory in Indianapolis,
The need of more officiating members then presented itself, to properly receive and care for
our new purchase and C. A. Shuhart was chosen as our chief, while Edward Smith, D. K.
Drumheller, S. H. Smith, J. M. Verger and S. G. Brooke were elected directors. Chief
Engineer, H. Scheffey, Assistant Engineers, F. C. Newhard, and A. C. Wismer, Trustees,
Henry Scheffey, Pharus Schock and Sylvester Dekalb.
On May 12th, the committee on purchasing reported that the new machine was on the car at
Pottstown and would be brought to Sanatoga the next day. After a thorough test and
demonstration of its work, of which many of you may recollect, at Sanatoga Lake it was
accepted and on May 26 the following committee was appointed to purchase ground on
which to erect a house to properly care for the apparatus. C. A. Shuhart, A. C. Wismer. L.
K. Druntheller, Pharus Schock and J. K. Buchert, after looking over and considering different
building sites offered them, they decided on and, bought the lot the house now occupies.
About this time the company also received an invitation from the Pottstown Fire Co. to
participate in a monster 4th of July parade. Giving the invitation due consideration they
accepted the invitation and went in line with their apparatus for the first time represented
with just Thirty members. The company was photographed on the morning of the Fourth,
also a picture of the apparatus was taken. The two pictures were framed, and now hang in
place in their room in the new building. They were a gift to the company from Mr. Melvin B.
About this time the Friendship Hook, Ladder and Hose Company, of Royersford presented
us with a large fire gong alarm, the same being in position today on their new ground. As the
building progressed steadily the company removed its meetings from the Kurtz place to its
new rooms and while they were Meeting with the support of the community and their friends,
both the committees and the company, they have completed their building and on Saturday,
Oct. 21st, 1911, with proper exercises and the good will and fellowship of participating
firemen and friends, of home and elsewhere, will turn the same over to the company, a new
home, a fitting place in which to meet their brother firemen and friends.