The documents in MG0545, Series 2 represent the business of the City of Lancaster related to the fire department, which was established in 1881 by consolidating the private fire companies in the city. These nineteenth century documents are primarily invoices for engine and hose parts and repairs; horse tack, feed and stables; alarm boxes; salary payments; supplies; and engine house maintenance. A few invoices are for the earlier volunteer fire companies.
"A radical change in the method of providing protection against fire was brought about in 1882, a paid city fire department being substituted for the volunteer fire companies. The old system had to some extent fallen into
disrepute and become inefficient. The ordinance creating the new system was approved Dec. 21, 1881, and actual organization was commenced in February 1882 by the appointment of Henry N. Howell as chief engineer.
The engine-houses, engines, and hose-carts of the American and Washington Fire Companies were purchased, and also the engines of the Union and Sun Companies and the house of the Humane. The department was in working order in April 1882 and has since then been constantly undergoing improvement."
Ellis, Franklin and Samuel Evans. History of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, with Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men. Philadelphia: Everts & Peck. 1883.
Note: These documents are mostly administrative records, not permanent records, and were likely purged by the city offices when they were no longer needed. We are fortunate that they survived as they contain details about Lancaster's past.
Collection was organized and rehoused by PH, Summer 2011; finding aid typed by HST, April 2012.
System of Arrangement
This collection is organized into series by subject: