Name: Scottsville Volunteer Fire Department's 75th Anniversary, 2011
Image Number: CG130cdCG09
Comments: Scottsville made a concerted effort to keep the town safe from fires since the beginning of the 1900's. A bucket brigade formed in 1905, and the town fire hydrants were installed in 1916. That same year, the volunteer fire fighters raised enough money to buy two fire hose reel carts. These carts were heavy and cumbersome and had to be pulled by six or eight men. According to Harold Parr, a Scottsville Fire Chief in the 1940's, "By the time the volunteer firemen pulled those heavy carts up the church street hill (from St. John's Church to the Scottsville Baptist Church), the men were so tired, they didn't have the strength to hold a hose (one of these carts is on prominent display at the Scottsville Museum together with some of the fire buckets; see photo above). Each cart hooked up to one for Scottsville's fire hydrants, but the water pressure was not sufficient to spray water far enough for most fires. Most of the fire fighting with these carts concentrated on saving adjacent properties while letting the involved structure burn itself out.
The Scottsville Volunteer Fire Department (SVFD) was officially formed in 1936. That year the fundraising for a "proper" fire
truck began. Unfortunately, the funds for that truck barely trickled in during those Depression years. Harold Parr, the fire
chief at the time, went from house to house and collected a total of $39. With the help from some prominent people in town, a
fundraising committee formed and collected $800 to purchase a Ford truck chassis. Barney Philpot spent long volunteer hours
designing a water tank for the chassis and thus the first equipped Scottsville fire truck was created in 1942; shown below:
Shown in the following photo is a later model firetruck owned by the SVFD in about 1950 with SVFD volunteers on board:
About 15 years later, enough funds existed for the SVFD to purchase an $8,000 state-of-the-art John Bean truck with the latest spray equipment. Shortly thereafter the SVFD purchased a second-hand truck chassis that was outfitted with a large capacity water tank for use out in the country where no fire hydrants were available.
SVFD receives the keys to their new Bean Fire Truck; Scottsville Mayor Raymon Thacker stands second from left.
The SVFD has been led by at least 14 fire chiefs since 1941. Several chiefs served multiple terms, and J.O. Jordan served 10 years (1988-1994, 1997-2000).
Scottsville's current fire chief has already served nine years and on track to beat Jordan's impressive record.
The Scottsville Fire Department moved from the old Victory Theater location on Valley Street to 141 Irish Road across from the Scottsville shopping center. SVFD serves an area of over 200 square miles and more than 10,000 residents. The amount of fire calls serviced by SVFD averages over 500 annually, and naturally they would like that count to drop significantly. In 2011, SVFD has over 40 trained volunteers and a fleet of 11 vehicles, including a hazardous materials containment trailer.
In addition fire protection, the SVFD protects Scottsville from the mighty waters of the James River. Volunteers regularly inspect the flood water pumps and the levee and advises the Scottsville Town government of anything amiss. When a flood threatens, SVFD spends hours installing the levee flood gates, diverting traffic, and running the pumps until all threat of flooding has passed. On another more festive note, SVFD organizes the town's annual Independence Day Parade and the spectacular fireworks in the evening.
The SVFD receives no state or federal funds. Some funding comes from the County of Albemarle and some grant money is available. Volunteers run all aspects of SVFD including organizing and executing fundraisers to pay for equipment and supplies. To support the department, the very active SVFD's Ladies Auxiliary organizes beauty pageants ranging from Tiny Miss Scottsville to Miss Scottsville and Little Mister Firefighter. An undated newspaper photograph shows a lively dance at a Fireman's Fair where ..."a good part of the town shows up." Other SVFD fundraising events have included spaghetti dinners, Halloween parties, cake sales, and Santa Claus visits.
On Saturday, Oct. 1, 2010, SVFD held a special 75th anniversary celebration at their firehouse was held. A man very much involved in the volunteer fire department for most of its 75 years, Mayor Emeritus A. Raymon Thacker, gave the keynote address.
(Thanks to Tim Cersley, and Josh Lindsay, for their time; the Scottsville Museum, and the Scottsville library for the loan of files and information sheets.)
History of the Scottsville Volunteer Fire Department
by A.R. Thacker, 1964
The President requested me to write a brief history of the Scottsville Fire Department. Now to do justice to the fire department and to its members, it would be nearly impossible to make a history brief. This organization has been in existence for many years, and through those years, a great many of the community's citizens have been members. The high, the low, the rich, the poor, the ordinary, and the outstaning have all contributed toward the continued work and success of this department.
To make a just appraisal of the accomplishments of this department would of necessity require the reading of the names of the department members through the years.
Beginning back as far as we have records which is 1939, the following have been members from time to time:
W.A. Dawson, Jr. Van Johnson John Gunther A.R. Thacker
H.H. Parr James E. Steger Andrew J. Collins T.N. Coleman
John Williamson F.A. Cole Thomas Mawyer Lee Wharam
R.E. Brill Robert L. Bryan Stewart Townsend Walter Allen
J.L. Pearce Rev. John Elliott Tyler T. Robertson David Lee McGuire
Waverly Butler Guy E. Moon J.O. Wilson Walter Woodson
J.A. Moulton John Pippin Austin Easton K.A. Spencer
William R. Staton W.L. Davidson M.B. Jones Gordon Rutland
Samuel Robertson Sherman Parr T.A. Allison Julian Morris
G.T. Omohundro, Jr. Norman Ormsby R.S. Moore Gordon Moore
Norman Wilkerson James Ripley W.G. Mason Rev. Mack Thomasson
Thomas E. Bruce,Jr. Lawrence Profitt Milton Cohen Lewis W. Rhodes
G.C. Golladay, Sr. Joe Hughes A.P. McKenry T.D. Daniel
Vincent T. Rickman Dr. W.E. Moody R.C. Hamner Sylvester Payne
Charlie Saunders Elmer Johnson C.S. Butler Irving Pippin
Leslie Harrison R.W. Coleman George Dennis F.E. Paulett
Leslie L. American F.R. Henderson W.C. Duncan Thomas Harrison
Mintrey Napier Herman Napier Tom Boggs Albert Kent
J.H. Duncan B.L. Philpot A.W. Mayo Cary James Thacker
F.A. Branham F.F. Marsh J.C. Harmon James E. Mayo
Eugene N. Johnson William Napier Walker K. Oslin C. Blair Moon
H.D. Thacker Kyle Allen J.H. PHillips Nat H. Reasor
G.C. Lanahan Frank Staton Jack Miller William Melton
George E. Morris W.R. Pitts M.C. Piel Charlie Hudson
Russell McGuire P.E. Thomas Fred Jones F.R. Moon, Jr.
C. Ralston Moore David Easton Charlie Bryant Edward Moody
Charlie Lenahan Ted Childress Pete O'Field Jack Leagon
Dr. Percy Harris Grover Mowbray Ranny Moulton Harold R. Stephenson
James E. Taylor Walker Gilmer Billy Waldren S.W. Townsend, Jr.
Herbert Wharam Dr. R.L. King Robert Brown G.C. Golladay, Jr.
Donald R. Childress John Deeds Winston Higgins Herman Johnson
Ambrose Payne Roger Haislip D. Allen Baird Maynard Stinson
W.R. Moore, Jr. H.R. Nicholas
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