After a disastrous fire on the property of Whitemarsh Inn on Thanksgiving Eve, 1915, in which the barn was totally destroyed, including a carload of cows, calves, and 100 turkeys belonging to George Schwartz, the citizens of Barren Hill realized the necessity for a Volunteer Fire Company.
A group of citizens held a preliminary meeting at the Whitemarsh Inn, then under the management of Fred Schupphouse. This group decided they had the nucleus from which a fire company could be organized. After plans were completed, they applied for a state charter which was granted by Judge John Faber Miller on September 5, 1916.
Meetings were conducted for some time in the Whitemarsh Inn. They were then moved to the home of Walter Hansel adjoining his store on Germantown Pike. The next meeting place was the old Barren Hill School House on Church Road, which at the time was parsonage of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church. Meetings were then moved to Milton Lebold’s garage on Ridge Pike. This building is still standing, 637 Ridge Pike. While at this fifth location, the company purchased it’s first apparatus, an American LaFrance Chemical Truck on a Ford Truck Chassis. The cost of this piece was $2,625, the money being raised by donations and the hard work of the fireman, ably assisted by the Ladies’ Auxiliary.
Plans were formulated for the erection of a modern fire house on a piece of ground on Germantown Pike, purchased from the Henry H. Houston Estate. Ground was broken February 15, 1924, and the building was dedicated on February 28, 1925. After completion of this building, the fireman realized the necessity of ground for expansion and purchased an additional 25 feet of ground adjoining the firehouse from the Houston Estate. As the community grew, the fireman feared that the ground surrounding the firehouse would be sold for building purposes, thus eliminating the grounds that were used for the Annual Fair. Through efforts of a committee consisting of Emerson C. Curtis, William Wilson, and Richard Kahoe, an additional plot of ground, about three and one-half acres, was purchased from the Houston Estate for $5,000 in 1946.
The Fire Company’s Annual Fair used to be the main source of revenue, however the last fair was held in 1950. Now all financial needs are met by the Annual Fund Drive.