The Village of Freeville was formed as a result of the addition of railroad lines throughout our area, just
after the Civil War. Before that about a half dozen or so people lived through out the area. The Fire
Company building site was previously occupied by a blacksmith shop run by a gentleman known as
Weaver. By 1908 several fires had taken their toll on the village. The villagers had no means of fighting
them except by the simple ineffective bucket brigade.
It was W.B. Strong, a salesman for the Groton Bridge Co., who was one of the strongest advocates
for fire protection. He lived in Freeville and had just finished building a new house. As the result of a
fire that burned Willey's Store, and almost destroyed numerous surrounding buildings, the village held
a special election to vote on whether a new station was to be built. The vote passed only through much
persuasion by Strong and A.B. Genung (another strong supporter of fire protection).
At the same time a meeting was held to vote on the name of the fire company. W.B. Strong won (The
vote was far from unanimous for the name) and his name still graces our department. Strong himself
donated $500 dollars to the department in the fall of 1908. At the 1st annual meeting held on April 7,
1909 an election was held for officers. The Company chose silver colored badges with a dark green
uniform. The pants were also colored dark green but with a black stripe down both pant legs. Each
member also received a cap.
By 1922, it was decided that the old Chemical hand-drawn engine was to be mounted on a motor car.
In 1923 the chemical engine was mounted on the back of a Ford Model-T truck. In the fall of 1931 at
the corner of Main and Union St. a cigarette was thrown, carelessly, on the floor of a barn behind the
Roe Store. Just after 11:00 PM the village chemical engine responded but was powerless to stop the
fire. It quickly spread to the Leon Cady home and then to the back of the Roe store. It was only the
timely arrival of the pumper trucks from Ithaca and Cortland that saved the A.C. Stone house from
In 1940, after 18 years of service the Ford Model-T chemical truck had turned obsolete. The Ford
truck was torn down and rebuilt with a new motor and new equipment by the firemen. Later on the
village voted to purchase a new big truck with pumping equipment and ladders. The chemical
apparatus was then mounted on the longest wheelbase Ford truck of its time. It was done under the
close supervision of Victor Moore, with Moore doing most of the work. In 1946, the village voted to
buy the $6,000 dollar high pressure apparatus with its 2-400 gallon tanks. By 1956 a ladies auxiliary
had been formed and was very active in fighting fires and in county affairs.
Mr. Strong served as mayor for several years and moved to the southeast corner of Main and Union
St. He died on October 2, 1956. He never served as Chief of the Company which bears his name.