The first thing that strikes you as you walk into the Clarksburg Fire station are the... but wait, first I need to give you an earlier account of this station in this historic town.
Bill Smith gave Mel Fox and I a tour of the Clarksburg Fire station last week.
There’s so much to tell you that there’s no way it’ll all get done. There was a time in our history when it seemed to residents in Clarksburg that just about every town of any size had its own fire station except their town. Well, maybe not all, but certainly Greensburg, Letts, St. Paul, New Point and Westport had their own fire stations. Citizens of Clarksburg needed one and wanted one.
That’s when the Eta Chapter of the Alpha Omicron Alpha (AOA) Sorority decided to get the ball rolling. Early in 1951 they sent letters to people they thought would be interested and to various organizations asking if they would attend a meeting in which a discussion about fire protection would be the topic.
The community agreed with the women who started the drive for fire protection. Cliff Matrtz, Bob Fee, Raymond Miller, Bob Moore, John Carroll, Marion Vail, Bill Power, Don Martin, Ralph Throp, Bill Deiwert, Fred Goddard, Willard Patterson, Kenneth Helman, Jim Metz and R. G. Wallpe became the leaders of the project and to make an interesting story short, they got the job done.
By later that year they had purchased a siren, a fire truck and had entered it in the 4-H Fair. They had a “before” July 1951 (pick-up truck, ladder, pump and bucket) followed by the new truck.
Not long ago George Morgan found the siren outside beginning to rust. He said he didn’t didn’t rescue it any too soon but after cleaning it up it’s actually still working. He’s going to weld a foot back on the frame and then he’ll mount it on a base and wire it up.
The next purchase made by the Clarksburg residents was the garage that had been built by Frank Morgan and his sons, Layman and Loyd. Layman and Loyd ran the garage in the new building and sold it to the Clarksburg Volunteer Fire Department. Loyd Morgan is George’s father. So that’s how the fire department got its start. It was a tremendous improvement in the whole area. Now let’s skip to the year 2000.
Today there is a new fire station that was dedicated in April 2000.It and a second station at Lake Santee, has nearly everything that the 31 firemen need to keep the more than 100 square miles that includes Fugit Township, part of Clinton Township, SE Richland Township in Rush County, SW Posey Township and western Salt Creek Township in Franklin County. Lake Santee, being a small town itself, will soon have a new station.
But, back to the Clarksburg station. It was built on three lots. George Morgan said the southern part was once a two story house that has, back in olden times, had been a hotel. The north parking lot was once where a one story house stood. The center of the Clarksburg station is where the old fire department was.
Bill Smith told Mel Fox and me that Rusty Schiebler built it according to Bill’s and others design. Rusty made a few suggestions that were incorporated. He also let the firemen help in order to save money.
The first thing that strikes you as you walk into the Clarksburg Fire station are all of the pictures, beautifully framed, that hang all around the wall of the big room. They hang above, below and in between and they make a fantastic picture story of Clarksburg for anyone interested in its history.
Bill Smith began gathering these pictures in 2000. Some were from the old school and he got Hobby Lobby to frame several. Others have been given by individuals with a history in Clarksburg. George Morgan has typed all the captions for those and later donations. George said, “It’s a real time machine to look at all of those pictures.”
One plaque is dedicated to World War II veterans from Clarksburg. I may not have gotten all of them but I know that the following men died in World War II, and were residents, attended the high school or buried in the Clarksburg Cemetery: Wm. Edgar Brown, Wallace Crawley (still entombed in the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor), Cecil W. Davis, James J. Johnson, George E. Morgan and Robert E. White.
More about school pictures next week and did you know that Clarksburg won the county tourney several times? Yes, some great basketball players went to Clarksburg High.