BY VINNY MURPHY
Called a “microcosm of our country and community” by ex-Chief Joseph Natale, Haverstraw’s Relief Hose Company No. 3 celebrated the 100th anniversary of its facility’s dedication this past Sunday.
Though the company itself formed in the late 19th century, it was not until May 31st of 1912 that the company occupied its own building. In fact, the company rented a space at Westside and Gurnee Avenues for nearly 15 years before the village trustees approved their move to Conklin Avenue in 1911.
This was after the members of the company offered to pay for their own heating system. It was also noted that all of the brick used to build the “home away from home” came from local brickyards, and that the stone facade came from areas near Letchworth Village. Current Chief Patrick McNamee was named as Master of Ceremonies and also served to curate some of the days multiple historical explorations.
He was joined by Ex-Chiefs Frank Ferracane, the already mentioned Natale and Anthony DeFeciani, who currently serves as company chaplain. The highlight of the historical presentations was the removal of the building cornerstone.
This revealed a small time capsule filled with period coins and newspaper clippings. Though the paper was in a somewhat dire state, McNamee remarked that it would soon be restored for display and required a process to rehydrate the samples.
After these presentations concluded, many local dignitaries presented the company with speeches and plaques commemorating the impressive achievement. Amongst these presenters were Mayor Mike Kohut, Rockland County Volunteer Firefighters Association President Paul Schlegel and Deputy Fire Coordinator John Kryger.
Town Supervisor Howard Phillips noted to the crowd, “Haverstraw seems to produce volunteers.” This was only affirmed by the presence of company member Anthony “Cappy” Fiore, who is in his 67th year of membership. After a blessing by Monsignor Robert McCabe and a stirring rendition of “God Bless America” by songstress Maria DiCara, the ceremony came to a close.
After the ceremony, the guests were invited to tour the firehouse and enjoy some refreshments. The facility was decked out like a museum, displaying items from the company’s long history. Everything from trumpets used for communication in the days before megaphones, to horse drawn hose carts were displayed.
There were a few Rockland County Times clippings from days past. When asked, company members such as Captain Randy Taylor or 1st Lieutenant Erik Rauch were happy to give personal, informative tours of the three-floor facility.
Still in beautiful condition, it would be no surprise if this landmark stands for another 100 years.