Saturday, April 6, 2013

Newly found photos of 1930s Kerrville Fire Department firemen

Several years ago one of my email friends, Jim, sent an interesting image of a group of Kerrville firemen posing near their fire station, back when the fire department was based in the 100 block of Earl Garrett, near the Cascade Pool.  Of course, there is no 100 block of Earl Garrett Street any more, it was deeded to the Charles Schreiner Bank in the 1970s, I think, and transformed into the parking lot for the bank.  Likewise the Cascade Pool is no longer around.  One of the images is dated August 1932 -- a few years before Kerrville lost its first firefighter killed in the line of duty,  a young man named Bill Roberts.

On December 17, 1936, the Kerrville Mountain Sun reported "Fire Truck Mishap Fatal to Fireman."
William (Bill) Roberts, 37, was driving the fire truck in response to an alarm for a chimney fire at a house on Wheless Avenue; when making the turn from Hillcrest onto Wheless, the truck hit wet ground, skidded, and turned over. Roberts was pinned under the truck, but though injured, seemed fine when taken to the Secor Hospital. Later that evening a "fatal stomach condition developed."  Two other firemen were injured, Alvin Piper, 24, and Jim Sawyer, 22; neither of their injuries were serious.

Looking at the images of the firetrucks below, it's easy to see why this accident was so dangerous for all of the firemen involved.  Thanks, Jim (and Jim's Aunt Billie) for sharing these images with all of us.
Click on any image to enlarge
Members of the Kerrville Fire Department, early 1930s

A list of the firemen.  I regret the second entry.
Perhaps a reader can help identify all of the members.

The Kerrville Fire Department, August 2, 1932

The Kerrville Fire Department, August 2, 1932
After I published these photographs, Deborah, a fellow history researcher, sent me the following email:

Hi Joe,

This morning, I decided to search the old newspapers at to see if I could provide any help with identifying the firemen in the old photos.
Unless otherwise indicated, dates are Kerrville Mtn Sun.  There is one photo--Kerrville Times 12/31/1931, p. 1, where everyone is identified.  Perhaps someone with better eyes than mine can match them up.

Could "Jimmy" in one photo be Jim Sawyers?

Known Fire Dept members:
5/15/1930 A. R. Jones, secretary
9/4/1930 The city's fire-fighting force now includes four full-time men, Chief  George W. Doyle, Pete Davis, assistant chief; William Barton and George Heiman. (Doyle succeeded Heiman as chief)
9/30/1930 George W. Doyle, chief, succeeding George Heiman.
9/30/1930 Willis Barton added to force
Kerrville Times 12/31/1931 has a photo of the fire dept., and names them.   R. C. Pointer, Chief George W. Doyle, G. C. Barker, Herbert Parker, and asst chief Willis Barton.
3/16/1933  Herbert Parker mentioned as member of force
7/11/1935  Pete Wilson replaced W. H. Sellers, who resigned.
 6/6/1935 Chief Doyle and Asst Chief Willis Barton resigned.  Mike Allen named acting chief, Howard Lowrance named acting asst chief. Fireman W. H. Sellers retained his post. C. W. Henley and Jim Sawyers named as new members of the department.
11/7/1935 Mike Allen, fire chief, and Jim Sawyers
Kerrville Times  10/8/1936  Howard Lowrance named chief of Fire Dept, replaced Mike Allen. Lowrance has been a member of the fire department last four years. Jim Sawyer named asst. chief.
12/17/1936  Wm. Roberts, Alvin Piper, Jim Sawyer members of force
6/6/1940 Eight Kerrville firemen passed first aid tests. Chief Roy Hill, Nolan Martin, Carl Fourton, Randall Barker, Howard Lowrance, Fred Pfeiffer, Jame Heimann and Marvin Wilson.

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  1. In the bottom photo, we can see the back of the Schreiner bank.

    The upper level appears to be constructed of a slightly different colored brick.

    I wonder if the upper level of the bank was an add-on in later years.

  2. "Pete" was a nickname. Pete Davis' full name was Richard Reeder DAVIS.

    He was the son of John Howard DAVIS, and Mial Estelle Reeder DAVIS.

    John Howard DAVIS was the Kerr County Surveyor for many years, and later in the 1800'a and very early 1900's the Kerr County Treasurer.


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