The First Urban Legend

The Hinman House Fire

There are many “urban legends” scattered throughout the history of the West Haven Fire Department. The very first one concerns a fire that struck the Hinman House on the afternoon of November 6, 1888.  Urban legend would have us believe that, due to the lack of a local fire department, Hinman House burned to the ground.  The fact that the New Haven Fire Department was called in and could not respond in time to prevent the hotel from being a total loss spurred the residents of the Borough of West Haven to organize Engine & Hose Company #1 on November 18,1888, and thus the West Haven Fire
Department came to be.

Continue reading

In the beginning…

The formation of the Center District

To start at the very beginning, we need to travel back in time some fifteen years before Engine and Hose Company #1 was organized and the West Haven Fire Department came into existence.  In May of 1873 a resolution was passed through the General Assembly incorporating the “Borough of West Haven”.  Although the Town of Orange was still mostly farmland, the West Haven section of town was quickly becoming commercialized.  West Haven had a sawmill and a lumberyard, the West Haven Buckle Company, a ship building Continue reading