Building Name: Liberty #1 Engine House
Appendix to Liberty Fire Co. No. 1 Restoration Project (large pdf file--about 200 mb--may take a few minutes to open)
On April 12, 1892 the East Berlin Borough Council decided that it was necessary to have fire protection for the newly incorporated Borough. On this date, council bought land from John Hartley, measuring 20 feet by 30 feet, for $40.00. Realizing this was not a sufficient size, they purchased another 2 feet for $5.00 and two months later another parcel of 10 feet for $10.00.
A. B. Trimmer, a local contractor, was awarded the contract for $1079.50 and was given two months to complete the building, then was given an extension and four months later this wonderful engine house, 20 feet wide by 28 feet long and 18 feet to the square with fourteen-inch brick walls was completed. It had a slate roof and yellow pine flooring 1 1/4 inches thick. The specifications stated that the exterior was to be painted white. The building also included the borough jail.
On October 4, 1892 a bell for the bell tower was purchased from McShane Bell Foundry of Baltimore, Maryland, at 19 cents a pound for a 400 pound bell for a total of $83.81 plus $1.19 freight. On October 17, William Feiser placed the bell in the bell tower for a labor charge of $2.50.
Changes were needed over the years to accommodate larger equipment in place of horse drawn pumps. The floor was lowered and doors were enlarged and moved. The old jail in the back corner was removed. but the metal sheathing on the walls remains as well as tiny barred windows. Weather and insects took their toll and in 1990, at the Borough's request, the Society leased the hall for 99 years and agreed to restore it. Much exterior work was done soon after including repair of the rotting bell tower, replacement of the spire and restoration of the bell.
During the past several years, Society volunteers have taken a very special interest in restoring the interior. Today, work on the Liberty #1 Engine House is ongoing. The Engine House, located on Fourth Street and South Avenue, stands as a landmark of by-gone days.