Original 1928 Incorporators: Gaithersburg-Washington Grove Volunteer Fire Department
Fire protection has been a recognized need in Montgomery County since the early 1800s, although there were not any formal organized volunteer or career fire departments until almost 100 years later.
Organization began to take place in Gaithersburg in the late 1880s as the town grew in response to the coming of the railroad and by September 1892, the town wanted a more formal fire organization. Six citizens were appointed to find a way and the means to organize a volunteer fire department, which they did immediately. A month later, the Volunteer Fire Company of Gaithersburg was responding to fires. There were, of course, no firehouses that housed on-duty firefighters of scheduled shifts for volunteers, and when the alarm rang all volunteers would come running. Eden Selby, who was the town barber around 1900, would drop what he was doing when he heard the church bells ring and run to duty, which would often leave customers with unique hairstyles unless they chose to wait in the chair for him to return. During the 1920s, fires destroyed much of Gaithersburg’s downtown – the Post Office, Etchison’s Store, Brewer’s Real Estate offices and Thomas Hardware, Feed and Fertilizer – and in 1928 the present Gaithersburg-Washington Grove Fire Department was created by charter.
Original incorporators when the fire company was chartered were Lewis Reed, William Barnett, Garry Bell, Herbert Diamond, William Dutrow, Ernest C. Gartner, Merle Jacobs, Frank Severance, Clyde Thomas and Thomas Troxell.
I was doing some online research and stumbled upon the Kensington (Maryland) Volunteer Fire Department’s web page. Their history is quite amazing, actually. Especially when I realized that their first truck was purchased from Reed Brothers Dodge. It was not a complete truck when purchased, however.
From the Kensington Volunteer Fire Department’s “History” webpage:
1922 was the birth of the Kensington Volunteer Fire Department. With little money, a Dodge truck was purchased from Reed Brothers Dodge in Rockville. A custom fire body was then built and fitted on the truck by Jacobs Brothers in Gaithersburg who ran the Wheelwright Shop on East Diamond Avenue. To raise money, the volunteers held carnivals. The Fire Department incorporated in 1925, and two years later moved into a permanent home in the basement of the National Guard Armory.
Lewis Reed was a Charter Member and Past President of the Gaithersburg-Washington Grove Volunteer Fire Department. The wall plaque below displays Past Presidents and Past Chiefs. Lewis Reed was President from Feb.1933-Feb 1937. His name plate is 5th down on the left.
In 1967, the first career fire fighters joined the department. Today, the brave volunteers, career fire fighters and emergency medical personnel of the Gaithersburg-Washington Grove Fire Department continue in the courageous footsteps of their noble predecessors as they heroically serve our community.
Source: Fire Protection in Montgomery County: Bucket Brigade to High Tech
Lewis Reed: Charter Member, Gaithersburg-Washington Grove Volunteer Fire Department
Lewis Reed was a charter member and Past President (Feb.1933 – Feb 1937) of the Gaithersburg – Washington Grove Volunteer Fire Department. The newspaper article below shows the first members of the GWGVFD standing in front of a 1928 Broadway fire truck. The picture was taken in 1929 in front of old Barnett Drug Store where Diamond Drugs in Olde Towne Gaithersburg now stands. (click image to enlarge)
The Gaithersburg – Washington Grove VFD is now a Fire Museum located at 13 E. Diamond Avenue in Olde Towne Gaithersburg.
The wall plaque below displays Past Presidents and Past Chiefs of the Gaithersburg-Washington Grove Fire Department. Lewis Reed was President from Feb.1933 – Feb 1937. His name plate is 5th down on the left.