|Fact & Fantasy: A History of Tavistock & District||Public Services - Page 59|
The Library has always boasted of its fine volumes, encyclopedias and other books of reference. In 1911, 32 German and 150 English books were secured. Periodicals and newspapers have been subscribed to regularly. Better service was provided when the Oxford County Council, through the County Library, provided a travelling set of books. In 1967 the Village Council saw fit to join the Oxford County Library set-up, whereby the library in Tavistock comes under the jurisdiction of the Library Board, appointed by County Council. The local Library Board takes care of the renting of the hall and other local problems.
The Public Library, PUC Building and the Tavistock
THE FIRE BRIGADE
From the files of the Tavistock Gazette we find that a meeting was called in the Society Hall to organize a volunteer fire brigade on November 23, 1911. One week later, 20 men were enrolled and the meeting chose Mr. Peter Steinman as chief. One week later on December 7, these officers were listed:
Soon after incorporation, council had decided to put in a water system, the by-law being presented on April 13, 1911, for $20,000, to include a tank of 40,000 gallon capacity, and 16 hydrants to start with. The assessment at the time was $520,720. At the July 11, 1912, meeting the council discussed the need for a fire hall with tower to hang up the hose, and a lock-up for the chief, and a hall for meetings of the Council, Board of Trade, School Board, Police Court, Division Court. Some favoured buying the Opera Hall for this purpose, and when the by-law to build was voted on, a week later, it was defeated by 77 to 27 chiefly on the plea that the village debt, from installing the waterworks, was still in doubt and the debentures unsold.
The fire equipment was kept in various spots: at one time the council paid $24 in rent to Mr. Jacob Lingner, at what is now 33 Hope Street E., for the use of his barn for the hose reel. It used to be thrilling to us, but exhausting to the rubber-clad, booted firemen, as they raced out of the narrow laneway, up over the tracks to the scene of the fire.
What did they receive in remuneration? In 1918 the rate was set at 50 cents per practice and $1 for a fire run. Practices were held in the park and dry "runs" were made from a dummy hydrant down near the tracks. The squad became so proficient that at the tournaments, it often emerged with first prize; there is a trophy at the Fire Hall to attest it. In 1920 a fire bell was placed in the tower of the hall. The bell had won approval under by-law 102, at a cost estimate of 439.00 in 1918.
Better equipment was added, In 1926 after the J.G. Field Fire, insurance was placed on the men, and on October 25, The Lorne Tractors Ltd. Of Ingersoll delivered a Ford one-ton truck, with large tires on all wheels and a Ruxtell axle, for $1400. Gus Strahm was named official driver, with Norman Baechler taking over in 1929, Joe Hilcox in 1931, Gus returning to the job in 1936. The old truck was finally sold to Harry Boyd and in 1950 a new one was bought from Bourne Motor Sales for $1700, the equipment being added by another firm; the by-law authorized a total expenditure of $4500.
The December meetings of Council record the expenses paid to the firemen each year:
1919 - Mayne Klein $ 90.00
1928 - Norman Baechler $133.00
1931 - Carl J. Eifert $116.50
1932 - Carl J. Eifert $129.75
1933 - Carl Eifert $102.50
1935 - Carl Eifert $110.00
1938 - Carl Eifert $195.50
1940 - Carl Eifert $345.50
1941 - Carl Eifert $220.50
1944 - Carl Eifert $302.75
1945 - Harry Zimmerman $183.50
In 1951 the pay was put on a more regular basis with a salary of $12 per year, $1 per practice and fire-call and $1 per hour on actual fire-duty.
1956 - Clarence Neeb $ 432.00
1957 - Clarence Neeb $1660.00
1962 - Clarence Neeb $ 964.00
We owe these men a debt, who even today offer their life and limb for our protection, when the jingle of the telephone summons them.
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