100 years of York County firefighting: ‘It’s 100 years of brotherhood’

Firefighters pose with North York’s first new motorized truck, a 1921 American LaFrance at Liberty Fire Company. The photo was taken about a decade after the founding of the York County Firefighters Association. The group will observe its 100th annual convention in North York today, starting at noon. North York’s Liberty Fire Company is host. For details, see firefighters convention. Also of interest: Check out these photos and stories about fires and firefighters from York County’s past.

Surviving century-old social service and civic organizations are not common around York County.

Some have come and gone. Others disband before reaching the century mark.

So when we have such an observance, yorktownsquare.com will put it under the spotlight.

So to better understand the 100-year-old York County Firefighters Association, check out this short history, courtesy of ydr.com:

“The York County Firefighters Association was formed in 1912 after the state firefighters convention was hosted in York the year before.

“It was called the York County Fireman’s Association until its name changed in 1994. The original members, who paid 30 cents a year in dues, gathered monthly to discuss training and the advancements in firefighting equipment.

“Today, members pay $3 a year and receive a $100 death benefit and a $3,000 life insurance policy through the state. Meetings were reduced to quarterly in the 40s and have remained that way, although current president Fred Shilke Sr. would like to see members get together more often.

“The association was vital in creating the York County Fire School, which provides a central location for training and licensing. The organization continues to donate money toward the advancement of the school.

“In honor of this year’s 100th anniversary, Sen. Mike Waugh, R-Shrewsbury Township, had a flag flown over the state Capitol on Feb. 12 to mark the exact date the organization was founded.”


“One hundred years is worth celebrating,” association President Fred Shilke Sr. told the York Daily Record/Sunday News. “That’s 100 years of organized firefighting. It’s 100 years of brotherhood.”

Yes, indeed.

Other fire and firefighting posts of note

York County’s worst, bad fire

Was the Chestnut Street rowhouse fire the largest in York County’s history?

York’s worst blaze struck 150 years ago

Deadly York fire: ‘There never was a more horrible one’



About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
This entry was posted in Archives, all posts, Events, Fires & firefighters, For photo fans, Local journalism & Web, Local landmarks, Nostalgia & memories, Uncategorized, Wheels of York and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 100 years of York County firefighting: ‘It’s 100 years of brotherhood’

  1. Jo Ott says:

    Jim–My favorite firemen’s parade story. It was in Lewistown, I was about 3 or 4, and was sitting on a ledge of an open window of an upper floor at the Lewistown Sentinel where my father was an apprentice linotype operator. As the parade passed below I could see horses coming. As one great steed and rider passed under my perch I screamed out “Hi ho silver.” The horse bucked but I don’t remember if the rider was tossed. Many people below us looked up to see where that command came from, but by this time my mother was so mortified she had already yanked me back inside. I still have a brass medallion from the parade.

    • Jim McClure says:

      Jo, I never made your connection with the Sentinel. I worked at the Sentinel for 9 years, six as editor. Loved Lewistown. 2 of my 3 kids were born at Lewistown Hospital. Dr. Creighton, on the receiving end!/Jim

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *