One April evening, over one-hundred years ago, a small group of men sat down at a meeting in the newly incorporated Borough of Denver, Pennsylvania. Their meeting was for the purpose of organizing a volunteer fire company.
At that time, before telephones, automobiles, and mechanical fire-fighting equipment, once a fire started, it was often uncontrollable. Fear of fire and the lack of facilities for controlling it, was in the minds of the borough incorporators in 1900.
The crude method of extinguishing fires, carrying well and creek water great distances, brought people to realize the need for a common water system. They figured the community would have to be incorporated.
So the community was incorporated, and the Borough Council laid plans for a water system. The system was almost completed when the little group of men interested in starting a fire company held its first meeting.
The firemen elected J. R. Lutz their first president. Other officers were: J. S. Reider, vice-president; L. M. Mellinger, treasurer; Raymond Find, secretary; and
Milton Grimes, chief foreman. Trustees were M. E. Grimes, Solomon Thalheimer, John Hartman, J. R. Lutz, Charles Gensemer, and Stephen Sweigart.
Charter Members .
These men laid the foundation for the organization of the fire company. It wasn’t long before others joined them. By the time a charter was drawn up, the company, named Denver Fire Company No. 1, was thirty-six men strong. The charter members were:
M. B. Grimes, Jesse Lutz, L. M. Mellinger, N. E. Gudenkunst, Henry Bearinger, Harry Gerhart, E. E. Eberly, A. E. Kurtz, A. H. Bucher, John Oberlin, M. E. Kurtz, E. S. Sharp, Solomon Thalheimer, John Hartman, Stephen Sweigart, H. W. Bard, S. H. Bucher, Harvey Bard, H. E. Eberly, Alvin W. Mentzer, J. B. Swally J. J. Faust, W. B. Grimes, Jesse Rider, Raymond Fink, Charles Gensemer, S. Frank Weinhold, S. G. Brubaker, S. H. Miller, A. J. Ream, H. E. Imhoff, George Rutt, W. L. Stober, P. W. Brubaker, C. O. Henry, and J. E. Kempfer.
Presidents – 1902-1907 J. R. Lutz, 1908-1923 Silas E. Bard, 1924-1926 1. S. Witmyer, 1927-1934 Guy K. Bard, 1935-1937 W. Earl Stober, 1938 Carl Weaver, 1939-1940 Leroy G. Weinhold, 1941-1942 William W. Becker, 1943-1947 Leroy G. Weinhold, 1948-1956 Leonard Smith, 1957-1960 Donald W. Stauffer, 1961-1963 John Leid, 1964-1965 Harold Sweigart, 1966-1970 Robert E. Getz, 1971-1975 John Leid, 1976-1977 Bruce Wagner, 1978-1979 Tim Ensinger, 1980-1999 Rev. Larry G. Hummer, 2000 John K. Weaver, 2001-2003 Donald Ernst Jr, 2004-2021 Mike Bonneau, 2022-Present Jeremy Brubaker.
Chiefs – 1902-1905 M. E. Grimes, 1906- 1909 A. H Bucher, 1910-1918 E.S Dornbach, 1919-1952 Samuel L. Snyder, 1953-1955 Paul Miller, 1956- 1959 Arthur Messner, 1960-1964 Robert E. Getz, 1965-1984 Donald W. Stauffer, 1985-1988 Terry L. Buckwalter, 1989-1992 John K. Weaver, 1993-1997 Bill Messner, 1998-2006 Matt Leid, 2007-2011 Matt Martzall, 2012-Present Shannon Hilton.
Service awards are given out every year at the annual fire company family night for the members of the fire company and their families. Awards for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 years of services are given. After 25 years of service, life member awards are given. Over the years several members of company have been recognized by the community for their dedication to Denver Fire Company.
The first meetings were held in the office of Dr. W. D. Fink, physician and burgess. Later the company rented and finally bought a building for $1,100 in Railroad Alley, once belonging to Alvin W. Mentzer, known as Mentzer’s Hall.
Other borough organizations also used the building for meetings. At one time Borough Council had a cell installed, so law violators could be locked up overnight before being transported to Lancaster for hearings. In 1915, the men began discussing building a new fire hall.
Fifth and Main Street-
In 1922, the membership purchased a parcel of land at Fifth and Main Streets and began construction of a $23,000 building, with the firemen doing some of the work in their spare time. The building was dedicated on May 1, 1926, to which the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the fire company helped beautify the new building. The Ladies’ Auxiliary donated substantial sums of money to the fire company and helped with the interior decorating.
After the fire hall was built, it became the most widely used public building in town – a meeting place for the Borough Council, Lions Club, and Boy Scout Troop. It also became the home of many other temporary and permanent groups, as well as, becoming the scene of many community suppers, lectures, and entertainments. The house siren itself was not only for fires, but to also announce noontime on Saturdays, mock air raids during World War II, and 11 A.M. each Armistice Day.
Plans for remodeling the fire hall started in 1961, followed by plans for building a new fire hall, starting in October 1962. The plans for the new hall were accepted April 13,1964 and the construction of the new fire hall was started in May of 1964.
On February 10, 1965, the fire company moved into the new hall on Locust Street, and dedicated it on June 13, 1965. On December 16, 1968, the note was paid and burned by the Ladies’ Auxiliary and firemen with great pride and joy in our accomplishments, thanking firemen and citizens and industry for their support in achieving this goal.
Since 1965, as in the past, the present facility has been used by various civic organizations, community events and social gatherings.
The Social Hall at the Denver Fire Company is a great place to hold all of your events. The pricing for the social hall is as follows:
4 hrs or less: $100
More than 4 hrs: $200
There will be an extra $75 fee charged if you are serving alcohol.
To reserve your spot please contact Trisha Wissler, at (717) 538-7192, and she will get back to you as soon as possible. There will be a $75 down deposit collected to reserve your spot.