Caption: Members of the Union Fire Company, one of the city's early volunteer units, show off their new hand-pump fire engine in 1851. The Union company had its station on Third Street, just south of Washington Avenue. St. Louis had 12 volunteer companies by the 1850s, when city leaders began pushing for a paid fire department as part of local government. The volunteer companies strongly resisted, but the city finally established the St. Louis Fire Department in 1857. Henry Clay Sexton, the first chief, took office on Sept. 14, 1857, for an annual salary of $1,000. He had been chief of the Mound volunteer Fire Company, at North Broadway and Brooklyn Street, just north of present-day downtown. His company sold its fire truck and house to the city for $250. Gunsmith Samuel Hawken helped to organize the Union company 1832. It disbanded in 1855. (Post-Dispatch)
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Photo ID: 31458944
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