Sunday, September 09, 2012

Ohio State Firemen’s Tournament, September 1868

The Ohio State Firemen’s Tournament was held in Sandusky, Ohio on September 10, 1868. Firemen who traveled to Sandusky by railroad were issued half fare tickets, and their engines and other equipment were transported at no cost, according to the Committee of Arrangements. Bells rang at 6 a.m. for the gathering of the firemen. Twenty three fire companies from all over Ohio attended the Tournament, with an estimated total of eighteen hundred firemen in all. A reception for visiting firemen was held between 7 and 9 a.m., and the parade began at 9 o’clock. Chief Marshal was John H. Williams.

The Great Western Band, along with the Sandusky Fire Department, Chief Marshal, Sandusky Mayor and other elected officials met at East Washington Street, near Columbus Avenue to form the First Division of the Parade. Representatives from Rochester, Buffalo, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Naugatuck, Connecticut were also with the First Division. The Second Division, which met on West Market Street, included Assistant Marshals, the Sandusky City Band, and representatives from Fire Departments from Elyria, Norwalk, Oberlin, Delaware, Fredricktown, Mansfield, Newark, and Zanesville. The Fremont Band, and firemen from Fremont, Dayton, Kenton, Urbana, Tiffin, Toledo and Clyde made up the Third Division. Prizes were given for several classes of steam fire engines, hand engines, hose companies and hook and ladder teams. A moonlight excursion to the Lake Erie Islands was held in the afternoon aboard the Evening Star. In the evening a Firemen’s Ball was hosted by the Hecker Hook and Ladder Company at Norman Hall. The Sandusky Daily Register of September 11, 1868 reported that the event was “the finest Firemen’s Tournament ever held in Ohio….The shining machines decked with flowers and evergreens, the gay uniforms and clanging bells, the numerous bands, stirring music, waving banners, martial step, and crowds of cheering spectators altogether formed a pageant at once imposing and attractive.”

In August of 1871, the Sandusky Fire Department was awarded this silver speaking trumpet as a prize at the Firemen’s Tournament held in Norwalk, Ohio. The trumpet is now in the collections of the Follett House Museum.

Company 3 of the Sandusky Fire Department won a trophy on June 22, 1910. (For what exactly the trophy was given is unknown.)

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