Knox VFD traces roots to 1870s

This 1934 Ford fire truck was the first fire truck in Knox's fleet. It was found a few years ago in Rockland and restored. It returned to Knox in 2017 for the Horsethief Days parade. The truck cost $5,500 in 1934.

KNOX - The Knox Volunteer Fire Department can trace its roots back to the 1870s, according to information compiled by department chief Matthew Yeager.

An old undated newspaper clipping in Yeager's collection tells the following history:

"In the 1870s, when Knox was known as Edenburg, the fire department was known as the 'Chandler Ladder Company,' which at that time was commanded by Anson Beatty.

"The equipment they had was a hand-drawn, four-wheeled ladder cart containing ladders, leather fire buckets, axes and pike poles.

"Later, when a water system was developed in the town, a hand-drawn hose cart was added. This equipment was used until 1934, when a 1934 300-gallon-per-minute Diamond-T pumper was purchased. This truck was outfitted with Howe equipment.

"In 1950, a Howe-equipped Ford was purchased. It is a 500-GPM pumper with a 300-gallon booster tank."

The undated newspaper clipping goes on:

"In 1956 the 1934 Diamond-T was sold to the Rockland Township Volunteer Fire Company and an 800-gallon tanker, capable of pumping 280-GPM, was bought.

"Then in 1959, a four-wheel drive high-pressure fog truck was purchased. This truck is capable of pumping 9.5-GPM at 400-pouinds of pressure.

"The company was charted in 1934 and the first chief of the Knox Volunteer Company was Cy Pierce Sr., with W.P. (Jake) Shakley following.

"In 1939, Earl Kaber was elected chief and he served until 1960, when Robert Bauer took over."

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According to a special supplement produced by the CLARION NEWS around 1958, that original 1934 pumper truck cost around $5,500, with $3,500 raised by the community and $2,000 secured by a loan from the Clarion County National Bank.

A new, fully-equipped pumper fire truck today can cost as much as one million dollars.

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The Knox Volunteer Fire Department is working on compiling its history.

The department is seeking old photographs of the department or other memorabilia from past firefighters, newspaper clippings or other historical information.

Photos and clippings will be electronically scanned and returned to the owner.

For more information, contact the fire department at its non-emergency number 814-797-5000, or by email at knoxstation570@gmail.com

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