1894 to 1945
The Village of Menomonee Falls sits in the farthest northeast corner of Waukesha County. In 1844, the village had a population of about 100 settlers. Five years later, they had grown to 1340 which started their climb to today's population of 33,000. In 1892 they incorporated as a village and have defeated any referendums seeking to change to a city form of government.
By the year 1894, the citizens of the village realized that fire protection was imminently needed since there had been fire losses experienced in previous years when there was only a "bucket brigade." On May 30, 1894 a special meeting of the Village Board was held to decide on the organization of a volunteer fire company.
Village Board Meeting
At the Village Board meeting of June 11, 1894 a motion was made to accept the proposition for a #4 Combined Chemical and Water Engine from Howe Truck and Engine of Indianapolis, Indiana. A second motion was made to elect John Huebner Chief of the Fire Department. Eight days later the first meeting of the Menomonee Falls Volunteer Fire Company was called to order. They then changed their name to Menomonee Falls Fire Company No. 1 and adopted a constitution and bylaws subject to amendments and election of officers.
As the Company continued to establish itself, a contract was approved on July 5, 1894 for a hose wagon and the purchase of a Hook and Ladder truck for a sum not to exceed $1,000. The July 11, 1894 meeting brought about the decision to hold fire practice every first and third Tuesday of the month, establishing Tuesday as practice / drill nights, which continues today.
By October 2, 1894 they realized the need for a permanent building, hall, and water supply, so they approved the raising of $2,000, thus the tradition of a fireman's dance started and continued until the 1980s. The building was completed and occupied by December of 1898.
Modern Fire equipment
Wanting to be up to date, October 1906 saw the appropriation of $1,200 for a new motor driven pump, with a hand pump connection. The old hose wagon was discarded and a new hose reel was purchased. 1921 saw little fire activity as they responded to five calls, two within the village and three for mutual aid.
An electric fire siren was purchased in 1922 and installed on the roof of the Menomonee Falls Mfg. Co. Citizens were asked to help with the testing of the siren, by listening for the clearness and loudness of the signal during the test period of midnight - 1 am on April 10, 1922. The siren was returned to the manufacturer the following week. The purchase of a modern fire alarm system would come in 1929. The system was officially sounded every day at noon, a practice that continued up to 1983.
During the year of 1923, the Chief and Company, recognized the need for new apparatus and the financing for the company operations, so a committee was appointed to raise necessary capital. This committee would deal with the annual dance, but their real efforts were directed to arrange for an August picnic, complete with parade, amusements, dance, and a sideshow. The Committee did their job well, as they were able to purchase a $1,000 Government Savings Certificate that year.
In 1935 the village Board decided to have the streets named and marked along with every house in the village numbered. As the population grew in the 1960s, a new and more accurate address system was again instituted, benefiting the fire department and the citizens.
During the WWII years, air raid duty became another community activity as part of the company's war effort. Fire prevention talks, which had been given at the schools, now became a community effort to advise the citizens of the dangers of hoarding gasoline and storing it inside buildings.
In 1941 there was only one call in the village, with no fire loss. 1942 and 1943 were also good years in terms of little or no fire losses. 1945 was another quiet year with little or no activity, but that was to come to pass with the ending of the war and the postwar flight to the suburbs.