ROWAYTON HOSE COMPANY #1
A horrible fire in 1902 at the Thomes General Store led to the formation of Rowayton Hose Company #1. At the turn of the century, there was no city water in Rowayton, and fire hydrants were non-existent. Apparently word was sent to South Norwalk and a horse and trolley expedition with fire fighting equipment was dispatched, only to arrive too late to save the burning store, which was destroyed.
The Rowayton Hose Company’s first headquarters was in Earl Thomes’ barn on the corner of Witch Lane and Rowayton Avenue. Mr. Thomes was one of the founding members of the company. About a year later, William Klein donated his old boathouse on the Five Mile River on Rowayton Avenue across from the cannon to the Hose Company, and the building functioned as the second headquarters of the Company from 1903 through 1905.
In 1905, the “members of the Hose Company succeeded in raising enough money, including a substantial mortgage loan from the South Norwalk Trust Company, to construct a new firehouse in 1905 at 151 Rowayton Avenue. This building was home to the Company for the next 50 years until the current fire house was built in 1956.”*
A few years after the founding of the Hose Company, several members left the Hose Company and formed the Reliance Hook and Ladder Company who built their own firehouse right next door to the Hose Company, at 145 Rowaton Ave., now home to the Rowayton Art Center. Over the next twenty years, the Hose Company was in a constant state of rivalry with the Hook and Ladder Company, both from a fire fighting standpoint as well as on the baseball diamond and at the pool table, until the latter folded in 1923. The Hose Company is still in operation today with its station at 136 Rowayton Avenue.
Today, the volunteer fire department, a private company sponsored by dues, owns and maintains the firehouse; it selects and trains the volunteers. The Sixth Taxing District of Norwalk pays the utilities for the firehouse, provides fire-fighting equipment, and owns the fire trucks.
* Much of the content of this history was taken from Rowayton Hose Company No. 1, Rowayton, Connecticut 1902-2002, 100th Anniversary book 2002.